Important message from The Sportsmen’s Federation

Today the House Judiciary Committee took up the Federation’s suggested
Veterans-Hunters-Shooters Protection Amendment to remove the totally
unnecessary 18 month waiting period for those who have recovered from
mental illness. This would allow recovered citizen to be able to petition a
Vermont court to have their rights reinstated.

This would have resulted in the federal NICS system being notified and the
citizen to have the legal disability status removed.

The Federation believed that if the 18 month waiting period was removed, it
would provide a viable solution on this issue in S.141. Of the 31 states that
have a similar NICS reporting system, 30 do not have a waiting period.

The U.S. Department of Justice NICS restoration of rights process does not
require a state waiting period. Not even for a state to qualify for its grants

After testimony on the the proposed Federation amendment that was introduced
by the Rep. Thomas Burditt (R) West Rutland, the language was discussed at
length and was well received.

At the very end of the hearing, Rep. Willem Jewett (D) Ripton introduced an
amendment to the Federation amendment. His amendment would raise the
standard of proof of a recovered citizen from a preponderance of evidence
(51 percent) to the much higher “clear and convincing evidence” standard.

This means a citizen who has recovered from mental illness and petitions to
have their firearms right restored will face an expensive and very difficult legal
process that virtually permanently bars them from the possession of firearms.

This passed all passed in the committee, as did the now amended S.141.
The vote to pass was along party lines.

As the Federation was willing to not oppose S.141, if the Federation
amendment was incorporated into S.141, the amending of the Federation
language to include the draconian language of the Rep. Jewett has killed
that offer and the Federation now remains strenuously opposed to S.141.

S.141 now heads to the floor of the House and it should stand for its first
floor vote on Thursday and its final vote on Friday.

S.141 has ceased to be just a gun control bill. It has become much worse.
In addition being an unnecessary gun control bill, it is a bill that could deter
people from seeking assistance with mental illness issues. It now reinforces
a stigma of disdain for those who have had the misfortunate to fall into mental
illness. Like our returning Veterans and their families.

The Federation and all of the other gun rights groups could have walked
away from all of this after defeating S.31 and its mandatory background
check system. But, instead all stayed to work to remove or correct serious
and numerous legal and structural problems with the remaining two sections,
in what became S.141.

The members of the House Judiciary Committee who voted for S.141 have
now staked out an inexcusable position of mislabeling the mentally ill (even
when recovered) as forever being social and legal outcasts, excluded from
from the respect and the rights of peaceful citizens.

This awful amendment is now their position, on public record, let them defend it.

If you would like to voice your opposition to the Jewett Amendment to S.141
call the Sgt-At-Arms at 802-828-2228 and leave a message for Rep. Maxine
Grad (House Judiciary Chair) and Rep. Willem Jewett (Vice-Chair):
Please Justify The S.141 Jewett Amendment
House Judiciary Members are:
Maxine Grad, Chair
(D) – Moretown
Willem Jewett, Vice Chair
(D) – Ripton
Thomas Burditt, Ranking Member
(R) – W. Rutland
Charles Conquest
(D) – Wells River
William Frank
(D) – Underhill
Martin LaLonde
(D) – S. Burlington
Marcia Martel
(R) – Waterford
Betty Nuovo
(D) – Middlebury
Barbara Rachelson
(D) – Burlington
Vicki Strong
(R) – Irasburg
Gary Viens
(R) – Newport
The Committee Assistant is:
Kate Wilson
(802) 828-2257