Late last year, the Federation was approached by the Administration as to what our general stance would be on the creation of a process that would allow for the storage of firearms in situations involving Domestic Abuse, and we were told that this was a high-priority of the Governor. As described to us at that time, this suggested statute would only put into place a procedure for handling a storage process and related fees, it would do nothing else.
As the Federation DOES see that there can be a legitimate need for a defined storage process in certain situations, but certainly not all situations, the Federation DID indicate that this could be something that we could support, and that initial stance has not changed.
As it left the House, the Federation does not support H.735 as there are several serious concerns, with Due Process being one of them. Whether the Federation can support the final language of H.735 is unclear at this time for the simple reason that the language of this bill WILL change; the Federation is actively working to change it, we are being successful in changing it, and this simple fact drives certain people nuts. People like Representative Linda Waite-Simpson for example.
As a result of the knowledge that it WILL change, it would be imprudent and confusing to issue “For” or “Against” statements as it progresses, as this could literally change day-by-day as new language is considered. Further, we find that making any statement “For” or “Against” tends to follow along with the bill itself, and in witness of that we only need to look at the fact that the Federation at one point said we could support a storage mechanism, we made that statement BEFORE THE LANGUAGE OF THE BILL WAS EVEN INTRODUCED, and yet the word is being spread – apparently even amongst our allies and friends – that we blindly support H.735 with its current problems.
In point of fact, it is clearly possible for this bill to be corrected sufficiently so that, perhaps, almost all of “our side” could support it; assuming of course that other pro-2nd Amendment groups could get behind the general concept of supporting JUST the creation of a Storage Procedure and related fees.
And now comes the VT Digger Article. Ms. Waite-Simpson WANTS the language as it left the House, she WANTS the Federation to lose credibility and she WANTS to sow dissension amongst our ranks. It even appears that she wants to take shots at the Governor who has taken a stance of “no new gun laws”, something that Waite-Simpson simply can’t stand. It is not coincidence that the article was released on Friday, the last day of the week BEFORE the rally; the last day BEFORE the Legislature returns, the last day BEFORE next week’s Federation’ Legislative Mixer.
This release was planned, it was specifically designed to discredit and attempt to contain the Federation’s strong influence in steering H.735 back to what we understood was the initial goal, and it additionally serves to drive a wedge between the Federation and our allies.
Ms. Waite-Simpson’s credibility is severely in question, and it is rather amazing to us that anyone would put any credence into the words of a woman who clearly has a conflict of interest between being an elected official AND a paid lobbyist; a woman who often has a great deal of difficulty with basic facts; a woman who has outright lied on more than one occasion.
YES, the Federation supports the concept of providing a safe storage procedure, IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, IF CONSTITUIONAL ISSUES ARE ADDRESSED. NO, we would never support any legislation that stepped on our constitutional rights, and we take huge exception to those that would suggest our loyalties lie elsewhere or who paint us as the “enemy”.
Chris Bradley, Acting President of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs