By: Tom Knighton
A few months ago, there were a lot of places that were trending more and more as anti-gun. That includes Vermont, of course. Much of the Northeast has been embracing gun control for decades, but efforts to curtail citizens’ gun rights have stepped up since the Parkland shooting.
Yet COVID-19 hasn’t been considered by many.
After all, you now have millions of new gun owners throughout the nation. That includes many in states like Vermont. Those new gun owners may have been anti-gun control before, but they went out and got a gun at the first sign of trouble. Are they still that anti-gun after that?
Well, at least one anti-gun candidate seems to think so. She’s going after a pro-gun incumbent’s seat.
Alyssa Black, who riveted the Statehouse last year with her deeply personal testimony in favor of waiting periods for gun purchases, wants to return to the Golden Dome — this time, as a lawmaker.
The Essex Town resident has launched her candidacy in the Chittenden 8-3 District’s Democratic primary, setting up a potentially dramatic general election race with incumbent Rep. Bob Bancroft, R-Westford, one of the House’s most vociferous gun-rights supporters. (Bancroft has yet to announce whether he will seek another term; he could not immediately be reached for comment.)
Black became an advocate following the 2018 suicide of her son Andrew. He had purchased a gun only hours before turning it on himself, and Black firmly believes that a waiting period would have saved Andrew’s life.
Black claims that the primary motivating factor isn’t actually guns, though, but abortion. That’s likely because while the calculus may have changed in the state regarding guns–no one really knows right now one way or the other–it likely hasn’t changed much on abortion. The state is notoriously pro-abortion so she’s trying to hedge her bets.
Yet Bancroft is an incumbent and has held the seat since 2014. No one bothered to even oppose him in 2018. That suggests that while the seat had been Democrat before that, most of his constituents are happy enough with him in office.
This won’t be a slam dunk for Black despite the state’s further embrace of gun control.
And make no mistake, Black can claim that gun control isn’t a motivating factor for her, but it likely will become a major point in any campaign moving forward and if Bancroft’s constituents are also pro-gun, she’s going to have a tough row to hoe, especially since she’s on record as wanting to restrict the rights of others because of the actions of her own son, someone who probably would have committed suicide regardless of whether he got a gun or not.
Of course, Bancroft isn’t likely to phrase it that way, but that’s something I suspect many of his supporters will likely bring up in discussions about Black and her proposed policies.
While Vermont isn’t the kind of place most of us spend a lot of time paying attention to, this campaign might be a good one to watch.