Skip to comments.Lawmakers look to tighten Vermont gun laws
Posted on 01/12/2013 9:20:56 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
BENNINGTON -- State lawmakers are planning to challenge Vermonts permissive gun laws in the upcoming legislative session, but any attempt to restrict firearms or ammunition is likely to be met with opposition steeped in a history and culture emanating from before statehood.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth, D-Burlington, plans to file legislation in the coming days to enact a state-level assault weapons ban. It would prevent the sale of semi-automatic firearms utilizing a detachable magazine and ban high-capacity magazines. The bill also would require trigger locks on all firearms.
Additional provisions restricting firearms could be added to garner support among colleagues, he said, but the focus is on restricting so-called assault weapons.
"If there are other measures that people think are helpful and those are added in committee, Im happy to have them. I want something to get done. I dont think you do that by being purist about your legislation," Baruth said. "What generally happens is they get dragged down by their own weight. What I wanted to do was focus on what is being used again and again in these killings."
Widely viewed as one of the most liberal states in the nation, Vermont also has some of the least restrictive gun laws. Gun owners in Vermont are not required to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, nor must they register firearms, and people as young as 16 can purchase a firearm without parental consent.
Firearms are barred only from court houses, schools and school buses, according to Assistant Attorney General John Treadwell.
Despite few gun restrictions, Vermont is also among the states with the lowest crime rates each year.
But the Dec. 14 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has reinvigorated a longstanding conversation on gun control in Vermont and across the country. Police said 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at the home they shared before forcing his way into the school where he gunned down 26 more people, including 20 first-grade students, before taking his own life.
Law enforcement officials in Connecticut said the weapon used by Lanza was a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine holding 30 bullets. That weapon was previously banned under a federal law enacted in 1994 but allowed to expire in 2004. It would be banned in Vermont under Baruths legislation.
Baruth said he expects fierce opposition from gun rights advocates who believe that "any change is tyranny." The states gun culture dates back to legendary Revolutionary figure Ethan Allen and his fellow militiamen.
But guns have evolved and are far more destructive today, Baruth said. "Were a rural state. Theres a long hunting tradition. Go back to the Green Mountain Boys, the idea of a well-organized militia. I get that. What I guess I would like people to admit on the other side is that times have changed technologically," he said.
"You can equip a single person with enough firepower to kill an entire room, and they dont have to rely on a fertilizer bomb. They can just bring a few guns and kill 50 or 60 people. Thats not defending their home from a single intruder. I want some acknowledgment of that, and I think you dont often get that from opponents of gun control," Baruth added.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, said the right of Vermonters to possess weapons is clearly stated in the states constitution.
Article 16 of the document, adopted in 1793, states that Vermonters "have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state." It is even more clear than the U.S. Constitution, which states, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
"I think its partly libertarian, more than liberal," Sears said of the distinction Vermonts early leaders included in the Vermont document. "It starts over 200 years ago in the Vermont culture that we have a right to defend ourselves and we have a right to use arms to do that."
Additionally, Sears said the state constitution does not limit that right to ones home or property. Laws today reflect the spirit of Vermonts early days by allowing firearms to be owned without permits or registration and concealed on ones body.
In todays world, lawmakers should be looking at ways to keep weapons out of the hands of people with "significant mental health issues" and "people with criminal backgrounds," according to Sears.
"Everything should be on the table. We should have a discussion both nationally and at the state level regarding violence in our communities and the use of high-capacity magazines," he said.
In the short-term, Sears said he hopes to meet soon with the Speaker of the House, the Senate President Pro Tem, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the office of Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin to discuss how lawmakers should proceed.
"Should there be a conversation on violence in our communities? Absolutely," Sears said, but warned that additional restrictions may not prevent a tragedy. "Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation and where did it happen? It happened in Connecticut."
President Barack Obama, in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, tapped Vice President Joe Biden to head a task force to develop legislative proposals to protect Americans from gun violence and prevent future tragedies.
A national law is better suited to protect Vermonters and Americans, Sears said.
"We need to see what the federal government does, if they do anything, which is doubtful. We at least need to see what they come up with," he said.
Shumlin is unlikely to support any new state-level restrictions on gun laws. Shumlin, a hunter who owns six guns but is not a member of the NRA, rejected a state-level ban on firearms in an NRA questionnaire last year, as well as state registration or licensing of guns.
He also indicated he would oppose legislation mandating locking devices on guns. Instead, Shumlin checked off that he would support a resolution urging Vermont public schools to adopt the NRAs accident prevention program as part of its curriculum.
Spokeswoman Susan Allen said Shumlin was unavailable to comment for this story. He has stated publicly several times since the Newtown shooting that he opposes state-level restrictions on firearms. He has steadfastly refused to indicate whether he would support additional federal legislation.
Baruth said he will push his legislation aggressively, despite Shumlins apparent opposition. "I think, first of all, you cant let your actions be controlled by people down the line. You have to do what you were elected to do," he said.
The NRA and other gun advocates have charged that those seeking new restrictions on firearms are exploiting the tragedy in Newtown.
Sears, also a gun owner but not a member of the NRA, disagrees with that sentiment.
"I dont think youre exploiting anything by having this discussion at this point, quite frankly," he said.
But, preventing future tragedies will require more than new restrictions on firearms, Sears cautioned. Much like views on smoking and obesity have evolved, the thinking in Vermont and the nation concerning guns and violence will also need to change, he said.
"I think society has to take that same type of action with violence. Its a culture shift," Sears said. "There needs to be, somehow, that culture shift away from the use of guns."
[[but any attempt to restrict firearms or ammunition is likely to be met with opposition steeped in a history and culture emanating from before statehood]]
Correction: “but any attempt to restrict firearms or ammunition is likely to be met without much miore than a few squaks after which the peopel will tuck tail and hand over their weapons fearting imprisonmwent if they dont”
The sheriff said that recently there was a meeting of most of the Washington County sheriffs and this subject was brought up. He said that all of the Washington sheriffs would stand-down. This was something that they would not comply.
Also, he said the the earlier assault weapons legislation made no difference in the incident of weapon's crime.
Now the question is, will the military stand-down or will the military go against the citizens or obey and honor the oath that they take? The same oath that I took so long ago and the same oath that the President and elected official take and are supposed to uphold.
All it will take to get the other clowns on board is for ben and jerry to threaten to leave the state if gun bans aren’t passed. Another idiot pair of radical left wing extremists.
Share the lead.
It appears that most of us will keep the oath we took(1967 for me). As for hussein and a lot of the clowns, they had their fingers crossed behind their backs.
Share the lead.
This B0z0 believes that multiple intruders should not be stopped?
Sorry about the source, but this is what Gen. McChrystal said recently:
Former Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led the war in Afghanistan, endorsed strong gun control laws Tuesday on Morning Joe.
I spent a career carrying typically either an M16 or an M4 Carbine. An M4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round which is 5.56 mm at about 3000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. Its designed for that, McChrystal explained. Thats what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally dont think theres any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America.
So, that’s the leadership. I have no idea whether the ground troops would participate or not. I will say that gun owners will be demonized first. The order won’t be “go get that lawful gun owner’s gun”, it will be “go get that domestic terrorist’s gun”. There is also the mob mentality you have to consider. If you had asked the police officers who confiscated guns in N.O. after Katrina beforehand if they would confiscate guns, I bet they would have said “no”. Somehow, though, they were able to justify it to themselves to the point of beating up an old lady.
So Vermont has loose gun laws and a low crime rate. Their libtard legislature better hurry up and fix that!
On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman
By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of “On Killing.”
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
“Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed
Let me expand on this old soldier’s excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.
Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.
Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, “Let’s roll,” which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. — from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke
Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn’t have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.
If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, “I will never be caught without my gun in church.” I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy’s body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?”
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for “heads to roll” if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids’ school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.
Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, “Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?”
It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn’t bring your gun, you didn’t train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: “...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn’t so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling.”
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.
And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be “on” 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.
This nonsense has been tried before in Vermont and went nowhere. This time will be no different.
That's like that guy who whined about lower crime rates, yet more people in prison than ever.
Let me get this right. In Vermont, a state with virtually no restrictions on firearms, where gun violence is almost unknown, they want to pass restrictive gun laws because, in a neighboring state that has such laws, gun violence has become perceived as a problem. ???
Liberalism is a mental disorder.
1966, 1969, 1975, 1977...
Interesting that the byline is “Bennington”. They should take a look at that giant granite obelisk sticking up into the sky in their little burg. It was built as a thank you to the able bodied men of New Hampshire who showed up with their personal assault rifles and defeated the German mercenaries that were tearing the town apart. The Battle of Saratoga started in Bennington.
Stanley McChrystal voted for Obama.
Gen. McChrystal was and possibly still politically naive. When he spoke 'freely' in front of a leftist reporter from the toilet paper called the Rolling Stone magazine is beyond dumb.
Baruth - "You can equip a single person with enough firepower to kill an entire room, [of tyrannical politicians who have a hidden agenda to disarm the public from effective firearms] and they dont have to rely on a fertilizer bomb. They can just bring a few guns and
kill 50 or 60 people. Thats not defending their home from a single intruder. to stop would be little Stalins and Maoists who want to remove big obstacles that stands in their way of realizing their wet dreams of domination.
I want some acknowledgment of that, and I think you dont often get that from opponents of gun control,"
Maybe you should acknowledge your hidden agenda and why there is a 2nd Amendment.
“This nonsense has been tried before in Vermont and went nowhere. This time will be no different.”
Agreed. Those who say otherwise don’t know Vermont. Socialist? YES, unarmed? NEVER.