Gun bill gets new provision as pro-, anti-gunners speak out

Michael Bielawski/TNR

DEFENDING THE SECOND AMENDMENT: More than a hundred gun-rights supporters and dozens of gun-control advocates gathered at the Statehouse on Tuesday to express their views on the latest gun-control proposals.

MONTPELIER — An already controversial gun bill now states that bystanders who are present with a person with a restraining order could face jail time if they don’t help police with gun confiscations.

H.610 specifies that anyone with a relief from abuse order must surrender guns for the duration of the order. The bill also seeks to expand the waiting period to purchase a gun so that background checks can be completed before a person takes possession of the firearm — a move aimed at closing the so-called Charleston loophole.

On Tuesday, as members of the public gathered at the Statehouse to testify before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the measure, Bill Moore, firearms policy analyst for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, sent a warning letter to pro-gun colleagues about new changes in the bill.

“The most recent version of the Bill now makes it a crime punishable by two years to ‘refuse to obey instructions from a law enforcement officer to ensure the safe removal of firearms or to protect the safety of the officer or other persons present’ and also instructs that the violation may be charged to ‘a person present at a location during the lawful search,'” he wrote.

The letter continues that the crime would be a felony punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment.

Moore’s alert questioned how a bystander present with another person targeted by police could be held responsible simply for being “a person present at a location.”

“Are we suddenly subjected to frontier justice that judges all who do nothing as accomplices to a crime?” Moore wrote.

At the public hearing Tuesday, the House chamber filled up with orange as Second Amendment advocates wearing orange vests began dropping in to voice their opinions. Although not as numerous, gun control advocates also were present.

Applause broke out when Republican gubernatorial candidate John Klar stepped to the microphone to express his opposition to the bill. In particular, he said the federally mandated waiting period of three days while purchasing a gun would supersede a state law requiring a 30-day waiting period. He also said long waiting periods could put some Vermonters in danger, such as when a person needs to buy a gun quickly for self-defense purposes.

Klar, who is a lawyer, said H.610 could never hold up in court.

“I’m sure that [Reps.] Maxine Grad and Martin LaLonde who are attorneys on this committee would have noticed that,” Klar said. “And yet Maxine Grad and Mr. LaLonde, you have sat here and you’ve looked at this bill, and as lawyers you could not defend this in 100 years.”

Birgit Matthiesen, of Burlington, was among the first to testify in favor of H.610. She said while she has been a victim of domestic abuse, she supports the bill.

“I am the child of a family of domestic violence and I’m a survivor. I have seen and I have felt the red-hot rage of the moment of violence,” she said.

She said H.610 would remove guns from volatile situations when a potential victim is at the highest level of risk.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

16 thoughts on “Gun bill gets new provision as pro-, anti-gunners speak out

  1. I seems to me that we, the citizens of Vermont need to rake the necessary steps to remove these liberal/progressive/ and so called democrats from office and send them all packing back to the flat lands they came flocking out of and Phil Hoff granted them an open door so man, many years go.Before that time Vermont was a great place. but every since we have experienced the likes of Bernie Sanders, Mr. Shumlin, and lying governor Dean who sold out the developmentally disabled when he closed the Brendon training school promising better service in the communities but then cut the budgets of the community programs by over 40 % in the two years following the closure. We really need to wake up and vote out every democrat/progressive/socialist/ and ultra liberals from the Vermont Legislature.

  2. If this law goes into effect, I’ll turn and walk the other way. Why should I put myself in a situation to be called to help a police officer or go to jail? What if the situation is volatile and gun fire is exchanged, especially when the state has taken my firearm away.
    Before all this gun control crap, my personal commitment to my neighbors, the public, and law enforcement, was to do whatever possible to assist and protect while a crime is being perpetrated. I know a lot of people with the same logic, most of whom are gun owners. I will be interested to see how this might affect their resolve to help their fellow man. People in communist countries avoid crime scenes where the police or military are present, knowing that they to may end up on the wrong end of a baton or gun, or land in prison. It doesn’t pay to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    Stupid legislation by stupid people.

  3. The evil that Vermont legislators can do is mind boggling. They happily permit infanticide, drug legalization. illegal immigrants, elderly euthanasia, gun confiscation, onerous taxes and fees, Byzantine regulations, and they tell us it is for our own good because we are stupid and they have useless degrees from universities so far left that they hate their own nation. I know Chittenden runs the state. That is a damned shame. maybe the GOP needs to fight in federal court, just as the Dems have been doing to Trump. We will get no relief from the swamp in Montpelier.

    • Yes, rural areas all over the country are not being represented due to the urban populated cities that are more liberal. It’s called taxation without representation. This was caused by a Warren Supreme court decision from the sixties. This needs to be addressed again by the court. The warren court was a liberal court. The decision to base the state senate on population duplicates the house of representatives and is not fair. The senate was meant to be the deliberative body originally designed to put controls on the house of representatives. The Supreme court decision changed the makeup of the senate and is now a rubber stamp for political means. A class action law suit by rural counties may have a chance of returning to the original intent of the senate which should be 2 senators from each county to represent all of the state not just the cities. As it stands now Chittendon and Washington Counties control the liberal 1/3 vote in the senate with 9 senators out of the total of 30. Counties have to be joined together and represented by one senator to meet the population requirement. This is a farce and a political tool for the left.

  4. Vermont is getting closer and closer to being a police state with not enough police to arrest the thousands of citizens being turned into criminals by the legislature. Can we please build more jails !

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.” – Ayn Rand


  5. This could also be construed as discriminatory for the bystander. At what age are they require to help ? What if they are of ill health, mentally challenged, or impaired in any other way? Get rid of those legislative fools, VOTE REPUBLICAN.

  6. Bottom line, this bill usurps due process, a foundational constitutional right. It does not put in penalties for those who file false claim or witness against someone they detest and want to get even with.

    I recently read where a Florida lawyer is defending 7 red flag cases against her clients. Their guns were removed, their reputations besmirched, financial ruin, etc. In five of the cases her clients have had all charges dropped and they were exonerated. She expects the same result for the remaining two cases. It sounds like the people who filed the original domestic abuse claims won’t be facing any legal remediation. This bill, H.610, does not have a provision for those who file erroneous claims. That is just wrong, and as the bill is designed, makes the it totally flawed and is enough to kill the bill right in committee.

    Do I think that will happen? Hell no as these are leftest activist legislators who could give a rats a_s about parity and fairness. In their mind, If you are stupid enough to own a gun then you don’t deserve fairness.

    Remember in the Kavanaugh hearing when the Dems said a “woman always has to be believed”. That is what Grad, LaLonde, et al are pushing in this bill. In the end we found out out their star witness, Blasey Ford, lied to Congress. Why shouldn’t that also be “possible” in an abuse case.

  7. All the firearms restrictions on the way here are also being enacted across the United States, in New York, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Virginia, Kentucky, and a host of others. We are witnessing nothing less than a conspiracy by Democrats in government nationwide to incrementally implement universal confiscation, leading to a total denial of our God-given right to self-defense. It will end with complete revocation of our rights to speak freely, assemble, practice our faiths, and eventually the right for us to live. We must stand together and resist, in whatever forms necessary, or we will become worse than slaves.

  8. Well, another trip to the statehouse to try and convince our Judiciary Committee that bill
    H.610 is just more liberal nonsense for an agenda bought and paid for, and playing on the
    heartstrings of battered women for there agenda ignoring it’s was unconstitutional.

    The Pro-Gun crowd came really prepared and went right to the facts, that this committee
    was ignoring their oath of office and not following the state & federal constitutions, with no
    respect for the Second, Fourth, Sixth Amendments !!

    I really want to thank ” John Klar ” for challenging the ” smug committee chair ” and her
    co-author that with them being lawyers, they knew this bill would not stand up in court as
    well as others that pointed to the concerns against the constitution and civil Liberties.

    I listened to more than ten ( 10 ) Directors of battered women’s groups statting that this
    bill, H.610 was the answer to their problems, boy are they wrong !!

    When you listen to the stories being told there is a problem, and it’s the failed Liberal Court
    System, failing to hold the “perpetrators” accountable for there actions against women be it
    physical or mental threats, the courts need to lock the bums up day one of any abuse.

    This bill H.610 is just a shell game for an agenda……. pretty pathetic and a shameful display
    from our elected officials.

    Vermont has issues, the first is the inept legislators we have, vote them out !!

  9. I believe there is something wrong with our so called lawmakers. They violate their oaths they took to protect and defend the United States and the Vermont Constitution and continue to come with every hair brained stunt to hurt law abiding citizens. Vermonters, please look at what they are doing and send a message by voting them out of office and punish any future politician who who does anything not in the best interest of Vermont citizens. I honestly believe all this gun stuff is a smoke screen to divert our attention from seeing that they have no solutions to the problems we have with young people leaving for better opportunities, business that does want to come here because we are perceived as business unfriendly, schools that are still not protected against attacks, homelessness, drug addiction, crime and any other problems that we have that they have shown time and time again they are impotent in solving.

  10. I oppose any law or requirement mandating that any person opposed to gun ownership be required to own or possess a gun and I defend their seeking legislation to that effect. Given that the majority of gun owners will probably support that legislation, even promote its passage, I think it not unreasonable that those opposed to gun ownership should likewise support legislation extending the obverse of that legislation, the right of those not wishing to not possess firearms not be required by law to not possess firearms. I fail to see why that compromise would be unfair to either side – it even leaves possession of firearms by those opposed to possession within the law and permits those in favor of ownership not to possess firearms if they so wish – within the law.

  11. Although the US Supreme Court ruled, many years ago, that the police have no duty to protect the public – our brilliant legislature is poised to demand that the public must protect law enforcement.

    I don’t think so. If LE wants to ignore due process and attempt to confiscate property unconstitutionally, they’re on their own. Good luck with that.

  12. These Toltalitarains care not about the law,Constitutions,state or federal, they have proven themselves not worthy of the offices they hold.
    They in every waking moment are actively working to subvert the Constitutions and deserve to be turned out,Get Out and Vote and anyone who you know offer to take them to Vote.

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