We are rapidly closing in on the election cycle for Vermont legislative offices, with a November vote to see who will be representing the citizens of various districts. One of the key issues this next year will again be the emotional issue of changes to Vermont’s gun laws. In 2014, the Democrats who control the house and the Senate did not act on or push any main gun initiatives. Why? It is election year! They know it is a derisive issue that could cost them seats in both houses so they let it slide into an “out of sight, out of mind” hiatus for one legislative session. It will be back in earnest this coming session!
One of the most important votes this fall regarding gun rights, will be the Essex 8-2 district, currently represented by perennial anti-gun point person, Linda Waite-Simpson. Simpson led the charge in the 2013 legislature to ban “assault weapons, high capacity magazines, restrict concealed carry, etc. She was a driving force in Burlington last year as a leader with “Gun Sense Vermont”, supporting the charter changes that the 2015 legislature will have to address. Clearly from her comments and actions she is a fervent anti-gun person who is closely allied with out of state interests such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors against illegal guns” and “Gun Sense America”. With the liberal make-up of the Vermont Legislature, if Simpson is re-elected, there is a good chance that these initiatives could very well pass. Gun ownership in Vermont would change dramatically and impact every gun owner foever.
Fortunately, there is an alternative candidate that needs support to unseat Simpson. His name is Paul Dame. He has been a featured speaker at the Gun Owners rally in Montpelier. He is not only a staunch second amendment supporter, but also a person of reason promoting needed fiscal accountability when it comes to spending the taxpayer dollars wisely.
Whether you live in Essex or not, if you know people who do, get the word out to have them to look at this candidate. Have them get behind him as this could the most critical vote for gun owners for many years to come. Defeating the Dem’s point person on gun control initiatives would further send a message to the overall legislature that Vermonters are not going to stand by and see their rights trampled!
What is the current environment?
Peter Shumlin has been vague in gun related discussions in state, but told a television station interviewing him at a national Governor’s conference he feels there should be limits on magazine capacity and a ban (?) on assault rifles, more background checks, etc.
Shap Smith, at the Sportsman’s Federation mixer said; “I’m sure that we will be looking at the Burlington charter changes in 2015, not in 2014. Everyone on both sides of the issue needs to be respectful of each other’s views. We will work hard to be sure that we don’t impact hunting….” Not one word about constitutional rights….. That apparently is not important.
Gun Sense Vermont (a subset of Former NY Mayor Bloomberg’s initiatives that go under many monikers, including Gun Sense America and Mayors against illegal guns. He has committed $50M to go after instituting more gun laws. He was heavily involved in the sweeping gun law changes in Connecticut, NY and Colorado. He has stated that Vermont, NH and Maine have extremely lax gun laws and need to be reined in as they are supplying guns for drugs to Massachusetts, NY, NJ, etc. It appears that his point person in Vermont is Linda Wait Simpson of Essex. She spearheaded the 2013 legislative initiative, was heavily involved in the Burlington charter change movement, and is quoted regularly in the press as a leader in Gun Sense Vermont. She is an unabashed hater of guns, the gun culture, and isn’t interested in any dialog that goes against what she wants.
In 2015, you will see the proposed Burlington charter changes hitting the agenda. These are touted by the liberal city council as “common sense” initiatives, which can only be goodness for the citizenry. We need to remember these were watered down from their first push, which included a ban on high capacity magazines and “assault rifles” due to lack of support and gun owners pushing back. If these changes make it through the legislature, they will be back with more “needed” laws. One of the proposed changes, even though the Burlington Police and Bar/Restaurant owns said they have had no issues of firearms in their establishments, would ban any firearm from the “Premises” of any establishment that serves alcohol. That includes parking lots, etc. How many of us, go hunting across the state and either for lunch or for dinner stop in an establishment that serves beer/alcoholic beverages. If this change were to be adopted into law you could not legally park on the restaurants property. , it would open this up to every community to enact the same law. Bad for gun owners, hunters and the restaurant owners themselves.
Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire continue to be the three safest states to live in in America. All Vermonters benefit from the reasonable gun laws that we have. Remember the old saying: “I carry a Smith and Wesson three days a week. You guess which three!” That also works with the premise that more than 50% of Vermont homes have a firearm within their four walls. You guess which 50% don’t have a gun! Good luck to you. Bloomberg and others say the lax gun laws in Vermont are contributing to their 4x higher violent crime rates in states like Massachusetts, NY and NJ. It is amazing that with all of these guns that we have in Vermont that we remain the safest state in the nation and not overrun with anarchy. It makes you reflect as to what style of laws actually work. Empirical data show that states with highly restrictive gun laws equal exceptionally high crime rates (FBI statistics). States with gun friendly laws (i.e. Vermont, NH and Maine) have the lowest crime rates.
Not hard to make an informed decision here!