House passes gun ban in hospitals, lawmaker confirms staff currently unprotected

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NO PROTECTION?: House lawmakers on Friday voted in support of a bill that would ban guns from hospitals. The bill, if it becomes law, would leave no one armed to defend patients or staff against an attacker.

The Vermont House of Representatives on Friday voted 93-47 to ban guns from hospitals, require background checks that could delay gun purchases for 30 days, and let health care providers alert police if they believe a patient might commit an act of gun violence.

The vote on “third reading” followed Thursday’s “second reading” vote in which representatives passed the bill, S.30, with a 97-49 tally. Both margins of passage are under the 100 votes that would be needed to override a potential gubernatorial veto.

Gov. Phil Scott has not said whether he supports the bill.

Vermont’s hospitals currently have no armed guards to protect patients and staff. That detail came out during debate on the bill.

“It was also made clear to us that a hospital guard does not carry weapons, they are not allowed to carry weapons,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. William Notte, D-Rutland City, said.

On the issue of safety, delayed background checks may also harm individuals who need to purchase a gun for immediate self-protection.

Notte nevertheless provided his justifications for sponsoring the legislation.

“[The House Judiciary Committee] heard from several hospital administrators, all of whom spoke in favor about this bill,” he said. “What they had to say is, quite often, when an individual is getting a medical diagnosis or hearing a family member’s diagnosis, it can be a very emotional moment and quite often the first reaction is to lash out in anger at the medical staff providing the diagnosis.”

Data published at the National Health Institute contradicts claims that most gun incidents in hospitals are reckless accidents or spontaneous attacks. The institute did a study of 154 shootings in U.S. hospitals from 2000 to 2011, and found that 73 percent were “a determined shooter with a strong motive,” meaning they were premeditated shootings with no apparent regard for any law.

Rep. Patrick Brennan, R-Colchester, noted a similar point to his colleagues in the House chamber. He argued that S.30 “won’t do a thing to prohibit [intentional criminal attacks] from happening.”

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee tacked on the new provision that could delay gun purchases for up to 30 days during background checks. The current requirement is that when a background check goes beyond three days, the buyer gets possession of the firearm — a process known as “default proceed.”

Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, pointed to a section of the bill that makes it easier for health care providers to notify authorities when they think their patients’ guns should be confiscated.

The bill language as written says “a health care provider may notify a law enforcement officer when the provider believes in good faith that disclosure of the information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.”

Donahue argued this could potentially allow for a therapist to order guns taken from law-abiding citizens and for scenarios that may not be justified.

“The main point that I want to address is how critical it is for a person to have trust in a therapeutic relationship for a person who is seeking mental health,” she said. “I can recall a fairly recent study that some 50 percent of people seeing their primary care provider will not share significant mental health concerns or issues because of the simple fear of stigma.”

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

Image courtesy of U.S. Navy

15 thoughts on “House passes gun ban in hospitals, lawmaker confirms staff currently unprotected

  1. This is all moot anyway.
    No one is going to want to go to a hospital anymore. And the more people forced to go off their bets and start getting better, the more people will realize what a complete sham our ‘health care’ system has become.
    Pure shill, and no actual healing in sight.
    If you want that, you have to find that somewhere else. And they have been killing THOSE care givers for decades. Can’t have people with cures sharing them with patients.
    I know this to be true… and I’ll never set foot in a hospital again.
    Trust factor is past zero to suspicion.
    They need the Covid money to stay open. Believe me – most of them have been in danger of shutting down for at least a decade. Bailed out again.
    The poll I took a week or so ago came back with over 90% who distrusted the hospital and wouldn’t go to one.

  2. Passing this will provide exactly the same level of protection from violent a-holes that the existing signs at the entries to the hospital currently provide…zero. Anyone intent on mayhem will ignore signs and laws.

  3. Your would think that real American Representatives could at least point to documented needs for this fix. They haven’t and can’t so its clear their real agenda is step by step disarmament of America citizens. Think about why they want that.

  4. Here is Steve’s take on it Vermonters..
    Please note this..which should serve as a wake up call- not that TNR readers need it, but the sheep do.
    Vermont’s decline is so alarming to us here in NH, that it’s newsworthy now and NH is covering this at our real news site.
    It matters to us a lot here as the receivers of the people that voted in the destruction of their own state and then fled to ours because they didn’t like what enslavement looked like afterall.

  5. Never leave an opportunity to take rights, gun or land ,from citizens
    Legislators and bureaucrats always know what is best for everybody

  6. WHAT?!,….I didn’t know that hospital security guards, in Vermont, can’t carry guns! One more good reason to stay out of them.




  8. The 2020s: The Coup Years of the Great Boogie Man Under the Bed, or How Vermont Bureaucrats Cried Wolf and Got CCPLd (pronounced: SHE pulld).

  9. Think about it, if Baruth had his way guns were to be banned in movie theaters, malls, restaurants, the airport, public gatherings, etc.

    Last year I posed the question regarding hospitals. For example, you are in an accident (car, snowmobiling, hunting, etc.) and first responders transport you unconscious to the hospital. Upon further examination it is found that you are carrying a handgun (fully leagle). Or in another case you have a spouse, son, etc. rushed to the hospital in a life or death situation. In your rush to get to the hospital you forget to leave your handgun in the car. In the original bill there was no “pass” for inadvertent non compliance to this poorly contrived unneeded law. The bill was modified to give relief in those kinds of situations. I haven’t seen the final bill, so assume that (pass) is still baked in.

    I think in the end this was just a way for the Senate Judiciary to save face…. concentrate on the hospital scenario and drop the other venues as there was so much push back. It was noted over and over that UVMMC has for years posted their buildings, barring carrying weapons on site. UVMMC could have called law enforcement and had the person removed, possibly charged in violating their (hospital) right to post their properties as “weapon” free. But Baruth had to do something to save his unnecessary anti gun gambit. It doesn’t make any difference if there wasn’t any historical data justifying any need for S.30. This is just dirty politics.

  10. For anyone who was still wondering, S30 crystallizes what the Progressive/Democrat supermajority in Montpelier really thinks about Vermonters who lawfully possess firearms.

    If the bill’s sponsors were being honest (Ha! I know, hilarious, but bear with me), they’d have produced a long list of assaults on Vermont healthcare providers by patients or family who didn’t like getting bad news. That’s the explicit scenario envisioned by Rep. Notte in his secondhand quote from unnamed, unidentified “hospital administrators.” But they didn’t, because there’s no evidence of an epidemic of that behavior. As usual, the bill ignores the prospect of a planned attack by a determined assailant – because laws don’t prevent things like that and Pollyanna Progressives won’t admit it – and lays bare their assumption that anyone who lawfully owns a firearm will go off the deep end at any moment and start shooting. Overwhelming evidence proving them absolutely wrong will not deter them, because it’s not about our safety: it’s about their disdain.

    We also have the issue of sweeping red-flag authority granted to healthcare providers who can already break confidentiality in the case of planned self-harm or criminal activity. I guess that wasn’t enough? Therapy is hard enough for someone talking about things they’ve resisted talking about before, and now it’s further complicated by the nagging question of whether an antigunner therapist can be trusted.

    • Johns Hopkins Medicine, the publication of the esteemed medical institution, states that you are more likely to be hit by lightning then be shot with a firearm in a hospital and they are very aware as their facility in Baltimore had a shooting in 2010.

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