Gun control event canceled over supposed ‘planned protest and exposed weapons’

STOWE, Vt. — A gun control-themed documentary film event was canceled abruptly Wednesday after organizers learned that members of the gun rights group Gun Owners of Vermont planned to attend.

“I am disappointed to announce that because of a planned protest and exposed weapons, the movie and discussion, on May 31st, sponsored by the Lamoille County Democrats & Stowe Democrats had to be cancelled,” Ann Braden, president of Gun Sense Vermont, wrote in a statement to her group’s membership.

She said Gun Sense would continue to promote “balanced and moderate approaches to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” adding that “those who are bent on intimidation will not get the last say on an issue that effects so many.”

The movie at the center of the flap is “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA.” The documentary is directed by Robert Greenwald, the filmmaker behind “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” and “Koch Brothers Exposed.”

According to its production company, Brave New Films, the film “exposes how the powerful gun companies and the NRA are resisting responsible legislation for the sake of profit — and thereby putting people in danger.”

The movie examines domestic violence, gun accidents, suicides and mass shootings and attempts to pin the blame for such tragedies and crimes on firearms manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.

The movie carries a 3.9 average viewer’s score out of 10 based on 56 votes on

Gun Owners of Vermont Vice President Bob DePino told True North that members of his group simply wanted to watch the film and participate in the community dialogue afterward.

“Some people had said maybe we should go and watch the movie, see what it’s about,” he said. “They said there’s going to be a discussion after, just like they say at all their other meetings. And every time we say ‘OK, let’s have a discussion, we’ll show up,’ then they cancel or they move their meeting.”

DePino accused Gun Sense of intentionally misrepresenting the situation as a safety threat, saying a similar cancellation took place last year in Manchester when a public dialogue was scheduled at the local library and gun rights supporters wanted to attend.

“Nobody is talking about (bringing) guns,” he said. “What it is, simply, is they don’t want to talk to us because we have the truth.”

One of the scheduled panelists for the event was Clai Lasher-Sommers, a New Hampshire resident who was shot by an abusive stepfather in the 1970 at the age of 13. Lasher-Sommers  has met with former President Barack Obama and recently campaigned for failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In a 2016 pro-Clinton op-ed, Lasher-Sommers accused gun manufacturers of failing to ensure the safe use of their products.

“In America, auto companies, food producers, toy companies, chemical companies — all of these industries have to take steps to make sure their product is being used correctly and safely. Not gun manufacturers. They’re able to make billions in profits, without being subject to the most basic safety standards. That’s simply not right,” she wrote.

Lasher-Sommers also has been an active member with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.

“She is a national anti-gun crusader,” said DePino. “She was going to be on the panel, and notice there was no Gun Owners of Vermont, there was no Federation (of Sportsmen’s Clubs), there’s no Vermont Traditions Coalition (to represent the pro-gun side).”

Gun Sense Vermont did not return True North’s request for comment.

While Stowe Democrats was mentioned as co-sponsor of the event, the group’s chair, Frank Zieger, told True North “we weren’t planning anything with them.” He said he planned to contact Gun Sense to find out why Stowe Democrats was listed as a sponsor.

Lawrence Hamel, lead firearms instructor for the Vermont Outdoors Woman program, told True North that gun control groups are being disingenuous to characterize participation from Second Amendment supporters as “protests.”

“I can’t recall ever seeing anyone protest an anti-gun event,” he said. “If they want to protest guns, that’s all right — (but) no one has ever bothered them. We certainly wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of an armed confrontation, because that’s what they are hoping for.”

Hamel said he would have enjoyed watching the movie and engaging in discussion. He said he has done so at similar events in Hardwick.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorth82X.

Image courtesy of St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

18 thoughts on “Gun control event canceled over supposed ‘planned protest and exposed weapons’

  1. Braden and her cohorts are cowards. And not mostly because they’re paranoid about people exercising their valuable freedoms, but because they’re deathly afraid of TRUTH.

  2. With the rapid rise of the ‘heroin epidemic’ going at full speed, I would think that this bunch of blomming wannabes would have plenty to sink their teeth into. I’d love to see the relationship between opiod related deaths and gun related deaths in VT in the last year. Are they really into preventing deaths as they claim, or just guns?

  3. “While Stowe Democrats was mentioned as co-sponsor of the event, the group’s chair, Frank Zieger, told True North “we weren’t planning anything with them.” He said he planned to contact Gun Sense to find out why Stowe Democrats was listed as a sponsor.”

    People really need to stay away from GunsenseVT. There is no credibility there. Please contact Gun Owners of Vermont by going to their website at for UNBIASED statistics and analysis regarding firearm ownership. There is an excellent statistics and analysis section with verifiable information taken from unbiased sources (such as the FBI). Gun Owners of Vermont has no reason to lie or to skew statistics like GunsenseVT does…there is way too much verifiable data to support the pro-gun rights side.

    “The movie carries a 3.9 average viewer’s score out of 10 based on 56 votes on”

    Hey, at least it’s nice to know my local Chinese food joint has a better rating than this movie.

    Lastly, I want you all to be aware that the 2nd Amendment of our country’s constitution, which formally outlines all our ALREADY-EXISTING rights to firearm ownership, is also accompanied by Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution. Please take a look at it. It’s as obvious a wording about each Vermonter’s rights to gun ownership and self-protection as you can get.

  4. Guns a problem in Vermont? Ms. Bandon, have you ever heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”????

  5. Good for you gun owners in Vermont. These cowards have to be backed down and exposed for what they are: cowards. I have been carrying guns since I was ten years old and was taught that a gun is a tool; learn to use it properly. I slept with one for fourteen months in Vietnam.

    Keep on keeping on,
    Your brother in arms in Tennessee.

  6. The irony of the entire gun grabbing doctrine of the left is that when they scream the loudest or have powerful advocates in office gun sales rise exponentially. The firearms manufacturers were perhaps the only manufacturing group in the US that was unhappy when Obama departed office.

  7. Maybe GoVT ought to stay away from the meeting on the grounds that Ms. Braden and her friends are infected with contagious anti-gun derangement syndrome.

    • Quite the opposite: the Truth is the antidote for that affliction. Without the Truth being present, they have the opportunity (& intent) to spread their disease.

  8. It is only a tactic in which the so called ‘gun-sense’ group assigns the same violent tendancies of the left to good, law-abiding citizens. The goal is to plant a seed in the public mind that gun owners are dangerous and violent simply because they exercise their constitutional rights. And that seed is being planted toward the goal of taking our 1st amendment rights away. If the event is canceled, the citizenry can not speak at it and bring opposing views. They will suffer no opposition.

  9. More people are arrested drunk driving with motor vehicles than illegal gun use in Vermont. Gun Sense VT should change their name to Car Sense and apply the same Universal Background Checks they are pushing to anyone purchasing or transferring a car. Anyone purchasing a motor vehicle should have to pass a background check to assure they have no history of alcoholism or DUI. Lives would be saved. Driving is a privilege not a right. The 2nd Amendment is a right not a privilege.

  10. They needed an excuse to cancel due to a lack of interest and not wanting to be debated about their lies. Nothing but a publicity stunt from spineless cowardly liars.

  11. This is just another case of Ann Braden not wanting the people who have been indoctrinated by her to find out the truth.

    Members of Gun owners of Vermont have been in Montpellier at meetings when both parties were there and actually we have had discussions with members of gun sense who were amazed to learn the truth instead of the propaganda that Ann Braden was presenting to them..

    I think that Ann’s audience is shrinking and that is why she is opposed to have people at her so called FORUM presenting the truth while her members are amongst us.

    I am surprised that Ann did not resort to her usual tactics and allow everyone to fill the building but refuse to let members of Gun Owners of Vermont speak in what she always claims is a forum on guns… yes that’s correct we have driven all over the state to attend meetings so that both sides of the gun issue could be discussed openly and honestly but when we get there we are told we are not allowed to speak and if we do speak then we will be asked to leave the meetings.

    I was at a meeting in Bellows Falls Vermont a few years ago in which I asked questions about Ann’s statistics and was told I would have to be quiet or leave. At that point Ed Cutler from Gun Owners of Vermont offered to debate her but she refused to do so and told us we would have to leave…. Eddie Cutler then offered to debate her anywhere anytime so that the true statistics about guns could come to light. At that point most of the audience which was pro-gun stood up and exited the form without any problem.

    To this day Ann Braden refuses to debate Eddie because she does not want the truth to be exposed in front of her people because it completely crushes her false statistics and what she would like people to believe we’ll stop criminals with guns.

    Everyone knows the criminals will always have guns because background will never stop these people who get their guns through theft and black market purchases.

    I really think it is sad that this woman said she wants an open dialogue on guns and then lies about the good hard-working people of Vermont who would do nothing to harm anyone with their guns claiming to show up with guns exposed.

    It is sad that Ann Braden has to lie about gun statistics and drag people in from other states to try to promote her domestic violence propaganda but then to completely lie about the hard-working gun owners of Vermont.

    She should hang her head in shame.

    • Correct , Gun Sense VT doesn’t want an open dialogue on guns , they just want to spread there
      Bloomberg rhetoric !! We have Problems in Vermont , firearms is not one of them .

  12. It’s nice to know that ‘Gun Non-Sense’ and their supporters have no spine and can’t fathom that someone could dare disagree with their nanny-state philosophy. Please get the word out about future meetings, as I’d like to attend and support the opposition.

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