Vermont legislators one step closer to passing new gun control laws

March 28, 2018 11:44 PM

A new gun control bill was passed by the Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday. It proposes mandatory background checks and raises the legal age to buy a gun to 21. 

In Vermont, bills need to pass through both chambers twice. Tuesday’s vote was the second passage from the House. The Senate already passed the bill once, now it needs to be passed for a second time. 

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But the House bill that was passed this week included two new provisions. One that would ban the possession and sale of high capacity magazines and another that bans bump stocks beginning in October. 

"I don't think anybody - why do you need a magazine gun?” Bennington resident Cheryl Angelides said. “You're not fighting like overseas. So why would you need it?"

Others disagree:

"I don't think that more gun bans or more laws are the answer,” Bennington resident Adam Lebert said. “I think having people around that can handle weapons and protect our people and our kids is a better way to go."

It's unclear if senators will go directly to a vote, or if they will defer to a committee of conference. That would mean three senators and three house representatives have to come up with a compromise on the two versions of the bill.

That may hold things up; which comes as no surprise as many Vermonters are split on these issues:

"You're going down a slippery slope,” Lebert said. “You take away one right that leads to multiple rights being taken away and I believe we as human beings have a right to protect ourselves."

"I just agree with the gun control all around,” Hoosick Falls resident James Redcross said. “I mean it should be 21 everywhere not just Vermont. Especially with all the gun instances going on with these kids having guns in schools."

Some suggested other ways to keep communities and schools safe.

"You know let's go through metal detectors,” Bennington resident Veronica Lake said. “Let's have a cop here at all times with a gun in case there is a shooter so that way they can apprehend them."

If the bill passes Vermonters won't be able to buy or possess high capacity magazines, but they can be made there and then exported from the state. That exemption was made to avoid jeopardizing hundreds of jobs at the Century International Arms factory in Franklin County.


Emily Burkhard

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