Gun bill now on House floor new threat to property rights, senator says

By Guy Page

Stifled so far in their effort to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of S.30, this year’s gun control bill, the Vermont Senate Friday passed a replacement bill that one senator says is even less constitutional. That bill is likely to go a vote before the full House.

On Friday, the Senate voted 21-9 to override Gov. Scott’s veto of S.30, banning possession of firearms on hospital premises and allowing a federal background check ‘waiting period’ of up to 30 days for a firearms transaction.

state of Vermont

State Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia

However, the House leadership is currently unable to summon the 100 votes necessary to override S30, legislative sources believe. That head-counting reality led Senate leaders to hurriedly pass S4, a “strike-all” amendment in which a gun bill was gutted and replaced with a new version of S30.

S4 was introduced into House Judiciary on Tuesday and approved the same day by a 6-4-1 vote. It is on today’s “notice calendar,” meaning it could be voted on tomorrow.

The new bill has one glaring problem, Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), a defense lawyer, told his colleagues on the floor after the bill passed 23-7 (Senate Journal page 275): it ignores the Constitutional protections of due process and protection of private property.

“Even though proponents claim it is “just temporary,” this bill clearly eliminates due process of law by depriving someone of their property on a mere accusation, almost always at a time when the owner of that property has no idea a court proceeding is taking place,” Benning said. “This represents a significant shift in constitutional law and it should not go unnoticed. My greater fear is that this establishes a precedent for the next attempt to erode constitutional rights.”

This isn’t the first time the Legislature has proposed gun legislation that ignores due process. Concerns about gun seizures without the owner’s knowledge or chance to object were ignored by the Democrat-controlled House in a gun bill two years ago, Rep. Pat Brennan said last week. The bill passed the House but didn’t become law.

Supporters of the aggressive gun seizure language – like Sen. Richard Sears, chair of Senate Judiciary – admitted similar concerns but say it’s necessary to address Vermont’s gun-related suicide and domestic violence problem. Opponents say the Legislature should need policy and funding solutions to those problems, not violations of constitutional property protections.

Benning’s concern about precedent raises the question: when government can seize guns without the owner’s knowledge or consent, what’s next?

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Tparlin and state of Vermont

5 thoughts on “Gun bill now on House floor new threat to property rights, senator says

  1. The answer to why anyone needs an AR-15 and 30 round magazines is all over the news. That’s why we have a Second Amendment to the US Constitution and Article 16 in the Vermont State Constitution, folks. If you are not familiar with one or both of these, take time to read them and wake up to what’s going on!

    • Also read Sectio 56 of the Vermont Constitution.

      Text of Section 56:
      Oaths of Allegiance and Office

      Every officer, whether judicial, executive, or military, in authority under this State, before entering upon the execution of office, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation of allegiance to this State, (unless the officer shall produce evidence that the officer has before taken the same) and also the following oath or affirmation of office, except military officers, and such as shall be exempted by the Legislature.

      The Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance

      You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont and that you will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof. (If an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.

      The Oath or Affirmation of Office

      You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will faithfully execute the office of ____ for the ____ of ____ and will therein do equal right and justice to all persons, to the best of your judgment and ability, according to law. (If an oath) So help you God. (If an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.[1]

  2. The problem with Vermont is all the liberals within our government, we will keep dealing
    with this nonsense……. so until Vermonter’s stand up and toss these clowns to the curb
    nothing will change.

    To all the elected officials who are not following our state & federal Constitutions, they need
    to removed from office………… wake up people, we outnumber this gaggle of fools and they
    forget they work for us !!

  3. Senator Joe Benning is great, but what rules is our two Constitutions, State and Federal,
    which both guarantee our RIGHT to own and use guns for peaceful purposes and Defense.
    for ourselves, our families, our towns, our states, our country, our LIVES!
    and to ward off Governmental overthrow.of our two Constitutional’s Gun rights.

    Period !!!! No Questions !!

    • This is exactly what they want to leave us unarmed. They want to strip the 2nd Amendment because it is a threat to their power. No war was ever won without the infantryman and his rifle.

      “You can’t arm slaves and expect them to remain slaves. You can’t disarm free people and expect them to remain free”. – Donald L. Kline

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