Gun-rights groups under fire as lawmakers push more gun laws in Vermont

MONTPELIER — Vermont can expect to see gun control bills become law for the second straight year unless pro-gun groups can sway the new liberal supermajority in the Statehouse.

Last year, gun-rights advocates were unable to stop Gov. Phil Scott from signing a bill that imposed universal background checks, prohibited standard capacity gun magazines and raised the gun purchase age from 18 to 21.

This year state Rep. Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington, is determined to place even more restrictions on the Second Amendment. He is the sponsor of H.159, which would place a 72-hour waiting period on firearm sales, and H.203, which would require that guns be locked away in safe storage.

Flickr/Fibonacci Blue (CC BY 2.0)

COMING FOR THE GUNS: Gun-rights advocates nationwide are on the defensive after proponents of gun control scored significant political victories last year.

Both bills would chip away at gun freedom in Vermont, which once considered guns the third rail of politics.

Eddie Cutler, president of Gun Owners of Vermont, is on the front lines tracking bills as they move through legislative committees. Regarding the 72-hour proposal, Cutler said the bill’s backers argue the wait is needed because some suicides occur right after a gun purchase.

He said he has been able to find only three instances in the past two decades where a suicide immediately followed a gun purchase.

“Three times in 20 years and you are going to restrict other peoples’ means of self-defense? Sorry, it ain’t happening,” Cutler said.

Cutler said guns are often purchased quickly for purposes of self-defense, and that a 72-hour delay could be the difference between life and death.

A wait period would also have serious implications for the many gun shows in Vermont, he said.

“That would pretty much put an end to all the gun shows in the state because the FFLs [federal firearm license dealers] at the gun shows sell the guns immediately and they are not there for 72 hours,” he said.

Bill Moore, a firearms policy analyst for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, says the safe-storage bill is dangerous because having guns locked away makes it harder to defend against an attacker. By the time a person can get a gun out of storage, it’s already too late.

“[The bill says] it needs to be within your proximity or immediate control, otherwise it has to be locked,” he said. “So, basically, if you get up in the middle of the night and you have your gun in your drawer by your bedside, if you go to the bathroom then you’ve got to take it with you, otherwise you’ve got to lock it up.”

According to Cutler, these types of laws can be easily abused by law enforcement. For example, he cites a law that Vermont passed last year to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be an immediate threat to themselves or others. The law was written in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and to a local shooting threat at Fair Haven Union High School.

In December, police confiscated the guns of an Addison County resident out of concern that the firearms might end up in the hands of a nephew who allegedly planned to shoot up Middlebury Union Middle School. Cutler noted the man did nothing wrong and yet saw his constitutional rights trampled.

Under the so-called red flag rule, it takes two weeks and a court decision to get the guns back.

Moore said these laws, even if they are written with good intentions, ultimately hurt the vulnerable.

“These are laws that first discriminate against people who are weak or are in situations where they are at a disadvantage. For example, [those] living in a small apartment in the North End, a single college girl or a couple of girls sharing an apartment, handicapped people who can’t get up out of bed and run out the back door to get away from an intruder, single moms picking their kids up from school heading to the grocery store and they’ve got some crazy ex-boyfriend who’s stalking them,” he said.

“It’s really discriminating against the people who are the least able to defend themselves,” he said.

Cutler said he no longer trusts the governor to veto new gun legislation.

“He originally said he wasn’t gonna do any, but I think at his last press conference he said he’s open to hearing about it and might agree with it,” he said. “Personally, this is the official standard by us, we don’t trust him, plain and simple.”

He added that the supermajority of Democrats and Progressives may be able to override a Scott veto anyway.

“It’s awful easy to say ‘I will veto a bill’ when he knows that it’s going to be an overriding majority that will pass it,” he said.

From the pro-gun side, Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans, is sponsor of a bill that would modify last year’s gun magazine restrictions so that gun competitions won’t be hindered by limits on firing capacity.

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

Images courtesy of Gun Owners of Vermont and Flickr/Fibonacci Blue (CC BY 2.0)

36 thoughts on “Gun-rights groups under fire as lawmakers push more gun laws in Vermont

  1. Below I answered somewhat “cranky’s” question about BO killing people. It might get lost in the many comments. Here’s it for better viewing:
    The closest I’ve come across is a video saying what you mentioned about BO killing people is from C-Span. It’s a short one:
    A bunch of Lawyers and Univ professors are mentioned
    I’ll keep searching Google & Yahoo. I haven seen (yet) the image that the protester is carrying.

  2. My God, where do these people come from? It is unbelievable that this stupid crap is coming from our legislature. Promote bills that are good for all the people and not crap that says look what I’m doing.
    These gun bills just place more restrictions on the law abiding citizens of this State.

    With all the problems that we have with mental health, drug addictions, taxes and all the other things that are a serious problem, they try to make laws for things that aren’t a problem.
    Stop voting these fools in. They have one agenda and that is they know what’s best for you. The government will take care of you. Sounds like socialism doesn’t it..

  3. Walt, you’re right. However, there’s a good reason our founders in instituting the First Amendment listed it before the Second. Talking is a better approach to conflict resolution in most cases, and should be the preferred method when at all possible. When talk is no longer effective and belligerence continues, force may become necessary. Moreover, we must always remember the power of deterrence. The more the deterrent effect, the less likely a weapon need be fired.

    • “You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this Assembly, you will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to you injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State; but will, in all things, conduct yourself as a faithful, honest Representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of your judgment and ability.”

      Perhaps we should make the entire Assembly recite this oath at the beginning and end of every day they’re in session. Many members don’t seem to abide by it.

      • Congress or State House or Town Hall…………If they know they won’t be held to it, they will swear to anything.

  4. As long as pro 2nd amendment people dance around the issue and think talking will change the diabolical ideology of liberals (Vt or anyplace else), this won’t be resolved.
    It should be obvious to anyone paying attention, liberals will never be talked out if killing babies, promoting sexual perversions or talking guns from law abiding citizens…..its what they do.

    • Walt, you’re right. However, there’s a good reason our founders in instituting the First Amendment listed it before the Second. Talking is a better approach to conflict resolution in most cases, and should be the preferred method when at all possible. When talk is no longer effective and belligerence continues, force may become necessary. Moreover, we must always remember the power of deterrence. The more the deterrent effect, the less likely a weapon need be fired.

  5. It’s not our 2nd Amendment rights that need regulating, IT’s these leftist agenda flatlander control freaks that need to be locked up in a safe. Impeding one’s right to
    self defense should be a hanging offense.

    “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”
                                          – Norton vs. Shelby County
                                            118 US 425 p.442

    “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” – Plato

  7. Just remember when someone contacted Scott’s office last year stating his worries about last year’s gun laws just being the first step, he was told there was no chance for further legislation.

    • Guess that would be another lie huh? Good to see you posting, wish you were our Governor, even with the majority on the DNC side, it would be nice to have somebody standing up for common sense and frugal budgets……you did a good job, kudos.

  8. The stat that Ed Cutler quotes, 3 immediate suicides upon firearm purchase, is known by these thugs from away, they are putting into practice the typical liberal incremental approach. This is by design to seem so small an action it will hardly be noticed; but, there is a little progress made each year until next thing you realize, whammo, the full text has made its way through and to front and center and we are stuck. There can be very little improvement with only 3 Suicdes in 20 years, so they will say, “well that concept did not work, we have to move to the next step”. These thugs are notorious, tenacious, freedom grabbing and have to be stopped. They cannot thrive according to the playbook with absolute control by the firearms owners and users. So the goal is render them useless by lawmaking. ANYTHING is on the table as long as it enhances their ability to control and own the territory. This is the way Hitler got started. WE CANNOT LET THEM DO IT!!!!! once it is gone, it is gone, so hang on to it by all means and send these bums packing!!!!! Also, did you notice they always bring these things up when attention is focused on other major legislation? The only thing these people understand is defeat at the ballot box, that needs to happen or we are doomed.

    • This is the argument and trap, yes trap they want those who are defending our rights to do. They want you to take the bait. They will do the very same thing they did last time, we the Vermont people will lose again.

      The sale of their law does not rely on the truth. The sale relies on emotion. People are emotional. They have control of all major press, if not directly certainly with ideology.

      If it saves just one life it will be worth it! Don’t argue about saving one life agree with it. Yes we should do what we can to save one life, we need to stop the depression, which lasts more than 72 hours.
      If we care for those committing or thinking of committing suicide, we solve both problems and everybody wins suicide drop in Vermont and we keep our liberties.

      Don’t take their bait, they will win again, suicides will not decrease and we’ll lose,our,liberties

  9. These ANTI-SELFDEFENSE laws do seem to violate Article 16 of the VT Constitution and the Second Amendment. Self preservation is inborn, instinctive, and can’t be legislated away. Acting to save one’s life is an unconscious reflex found not only in humans, but throughout the animal world.

    FBI statistics show Vermont is the #1, 2 or 3 safest firearm state in violent crime, homicides by firearm and murder by firearm; >95% of mass killers in the US passed background checks to obtain their weapons and killed in “gun-free” zones. There is no reasonable nor common sense justification to enact “gun control” laws in Vermont. Yet, the Progressive/Democrats do it anyway. We all know these laws restrict the rights of every innocent law abiding Vermonter, while preventing not one criminal from obtaining a fire nor using a firearm to commit crime. Criminals don’t obey laws, they’re criminas! So why place our the State in jeopardy by having to defend against costly Second Amendment/Article 16 lawsuits? Why target law abiding Vermonters who want to protect themselves, their families, their homes, and their State, and who, by self-defense preparation only, instantly become criminals themselves by the effect of these laws?!! Why endanger ALL Vermonters by placing them in harm’s way by restricting self-defense by firearm?

    Clearly, these laws are not truly intended to save lives! In fact, firearms save many more lives by their DETERRENCE effect alone without being fired! If you want something to fear, be afraid of the progressive disarming of the American public. Infringing on self-defense is unconscionable. Chipping away at the deterrence effect of firearms, effective by mere ownership, is harmful. These RESTRICTIVE ANTI-SELFDEFENSE LAWS are not in the public interest and should be opposed vigorously, as if your life depends on it. In fact, it does!

    • You’ll note that they aren’t even solving the problems, that is their weakness every time. They are NOT addressing the depression which lasts longer than 72 hours. It will not reduce suicide, but as many of you know that’s not their goal.

      Their weakness is they aren’t solving or even addressing the issue, they are dealing with the symptom. It’s like telling people the way to stop lung cancer is more chemo treatment, when if we stopped smoking cigarettes we’d stop what 80% of lung cancers?
      They are not interested in the people they are using or solving the problem, they are extremely good at manipulating the press and the people.

  10. Lalonde, Ancel and Pugh’s bill (H.203) defines a ‘child’ as anyone under age 18, and requires ‘safe storage’ if a ‘child’ may gain access to a firearm.

    Vermont Statutes Title 13, Chapter 85, allow a child under age 16 to possess a firearm with parental or guardian permission.

    H.203 doesn’t provide any similar exception.

    Either H.203 is a backdoor attempt to undermine existing law, or the drafter isn’t swift enough to have read Title 13.

    Those we send to Montpelier should at least know where to find existing law and they should ensure proposed bills with their name(s) attached don’t conflict with current VT Statutes. How can the Legislature vote on a bill that contradicts existing law?

    There are several sporting and firearms groups in Vermont. Among them are chapters of GOA, NRA(?).
    It would be most productive to have a list of those most useful in combatting this assault on the most essential libertiy.

    • PS Note the Obumba sign in the demonstration. Brings to mind the vid I’ve seen where he brags about how good he’s got at killing people, a reference to drone strikes. Anyone got a link?

  12. It’s interesting to note that the shooter in Aurora by law could not and should not have a fire arm, yet he got one. Just one example of how the bad guys will get guns while the law abiders will not have guns. Wonder if the gun control lobby in Vermont reads the national press.

  13. Rep. Martin LaLonde, apparently with all the issues in the state ” Debt, Drugs, Taxes ” just to
    name a few, all he can do is write bills that will accomplish nothing !! Well, maybe it will let Martin
    sleep at night with a feel-good policy, like he’s accomplished something …………..

    H.159, which would place a 72-hour waiting period on firearm sales, why ?? because we had
    one person bought a gun and shoot himself, it’s sad but apparently, he had other issues ??.

    We have more people killed in cars ( texting ) than by firearms !! Do we have any common sense
    left in Montpelier ………

    H.203, which would require that guns be locked away in safe storage within your domicile, how
    is this ever going to be enforced and Oh yeah Rep.LaLonde, the ” Supreme Court ” has already ruled that this is ” Unconstitutional ” so maybe you should brush up on the laws or rulings on the books !!

    Where do we get these people, wake up Vermont !!

  14. Jan.6th 1927, Vermont Governor John Weeks in his inaugural address stated: ” Our God given rights as enshrined in the United States and Vermont Constitution are not open for negotiation. They cannot be legislated away nor can they be regulated away. Any attempt by any person, organization, or government to do so will be met with the strongest resistance necessary.” It’s time to adopt that last line……

  15. Eddie Cutler, Bill Moore, Chris Bradley are true patriots and are defending the constitution and liberties of Vermonters.

    What is this mr. Lalonde doing? He clearly should be removed from office as he is going against his sworn duties to uphold and defend the Vermont Constitution. Who’s he working for, Soros? Putin? Bloomberg?

    So…let’s check…what’s his history? He seems like a nice guy, interesting. See his profile below, how come we have so many out of state people immediately get into politics and/or dominate our political landscape? Most of them are also not doing their jobs in defending our liberties and their sworn duty to defend our constitution, as a lawyer he definitely DOES know better, so that doesn’t leave a good choice for his actions.

    Vermont needs to rid itself of the Astro Turf stuff that’s going on in our state, it’s way worse than BST.

    MARTIN LALONDE of South Burlington, Chittenden County, Democrat, was born in Lynwood, California, and was raised in Alpena, Michigan. He attended Alpena Community College and the University of Michigan, where he received a bachelor’s in business administration. Martin worked in sales in New Jersey and New York for four years before attending the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his law degree. He clerked for Judge John Butzner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia, and for Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Martin worked at the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources division in Washington, DC, for twelve years, where he represented federal agencies in lawsuits involving federal environmental and land management statutes as well as issues related to management of Indian tribal lands and resources. Martin, his wife Anne, and their son and daughter moved to Vermont in the summer of 2007, where he has been the primary stay-at-home parent. He has served on the board of Vermont Suzuki Violins and on the South Burlington Form Based Code committee. He is a member of the South Burlington School Board, the Board of the Vermont School Board Association, and the Board of the Vermont Watercolor Society. Martin is a member of the Vermont Bar and has provided pro bono representation in family court. Member of House: 2014-15.

    • You forgot that he bakes apple pies and wears bow ties. He, like the rest of them are ego driven freedom thieves from other states who have violated their oaths of office under the pains and penalties of perjury. As an attorney, I’m sure he’s familiar with perjury cases. So who is going to step forward and charge these people with the violations of their oath, who can charge them, where do the citizens turn to get justice? He is supposed to represent us not his personal ideology. Further, who gets to come into my house to inspect my storage of firearms? There are thousands of legally owned firearms in Vermont and this law is unconstitutional and should be treated as such. I believe our law enforcement officers have enough to do without with the current drug infestation and they should speak out against this travesty taking place in Montpelier!

      • In Heller v. District of Columbia.[4][5] The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock”. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975. I hope Martin and the other Overlords are doing their homework!

        • Further, the decision from Heller states: (3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition – in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute – would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D.C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

          • One more comment. Since DC was not a state the decision in Heller didn’t mention the many states. That was addressed in McDonald vs the City of Chicago.
            McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), is a landmark[1] decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that found that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms,” as protected under the Second Amendment, is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.

  16. What in God’s name do these “Dome Elites” think that ANY Gun restricting laws will be obeyed by criminals? Restricting the rights of law abiding citizens, who have every Constitutional RIGHT to own firearms, will only turn our citizens into criminals by simply having their rights taken away. These so-called Politicians (who mostly come from other states) are totally clueless to the correlation between gun ownership and crime rates. Guns are tools. These tools are used for hunting, target practice and self defense. Vermonters will NOT become victims of crime. #802VTALLIANCE

    • John,

      They have no interest in finding the truth. This is a major part of the problem, Eddie, Bill and Chris are fighting the good fight, playing by the rules of our country, but the other side is not.

      They know the truth, they know what our constitution says and does, they don’t like it, they don’t want it, they are changing our state by any means necessary, it’s literally their chant and motto.

      Vermonters, myself included have stayed out of politics and let others run our state. Now we’re finding that, huh, organizations have literally been moving people into our state, educating people to be “organizers”, social justice warriors (thanks uvm :(….) to which are now running our state, running our state just like Venezuela. Low and behold they are using the same tactics as they did in Venezuela to become a state run society rather than have our state be the Constitutional Republic it is, the shining beacon for all follow.

      Astro Turf imported groups like Rights and Democracy (clever names, I’ll give’m that) will be the ruin of our state. They literally are bringing people in from the Carolinas and the South Side of Chicago to “organize” or state.

  17. Who is any government or anyone else for that matter have a right to lay down laws within my privately owned home? i don’t live in federal or government housing. Vote these non-american jacka—- out of office. i see a war coming. The democrats are going to push it until it happens. Green mountain boys are rolling in their graves and they will stand up and be reborn again. notice these gun grabbers 95% are from new york!! they need to go back and take buurrrnn sanders with them!!

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