House passes gun control and sends back to Senate, law enforcement forms opposition

Michael Bielawski/TNR

VOTERS WATCHING YOU: Second Amendment supporters in orange lined every public seat in the House chamber (and even all Senate seats) Tuesday afternoon as lawmakers rolled the dice and bet on gun control for Vermont in the form of S.55.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The little bill that began as a measure for confiscated firearms storage has morphed into an all-encompassing gun control regulation, with the latest changes coming Tuesday as House members voted 89-54 to approve S.55 and send it back to the Senate.

The afternoon session extended well into the evening, and included a sea of orange-vested gun rights supporters filling the House chamber and watching intently as Democrat and Progressive lawmakers voted to remove their constitutional freedoms.

The core components of the approved bill, which haven’t changed much since its preliminary passage by the House on Friday, include expansion of background checks to private sales, a ban on bump stocks, a ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and increasing the gun purchase age to 21.

Two of these components, the magazine limit and bump stocks, were not in the Senate version when it originally came to the House. Senators must either concur with the House’s bill as-is or form a conference of committee with select members of both chambers to work out the differences.

Several the amendments offered Tuesday addressed the impact new magazine size restrictions would have on gun retailers and shooting competitions. Federal Firearms License dealers have expressed concern that they’ve invested in inventory that could soon be banned. An amendment that would have compensated stores for unsold inventory failed to pass.

Lawmakers did pass an amendment to create a school safety advisory group to draft guidelines to prevent future mass shootings. The group would be comprised of leadership from both the education and public safety sectors.

Another amendment that passed would allow gun manufacturers in Vermont to continue to produce higher capacity magazines to be sold outside the state. The irony of this wasn’t lost on Rep. Brian Cina, P-Burlington.

“So, this amendment creates a situation where a product that is illegal in our state is being made here and sent elsewhere for profit?” he asked. “Are there any other products that we make in Vermont that are illegal here that we sell somewhere else?”

Lawmakers and audience members grew frustrated with the many new proposals offered at the 11th hour.

“The committee itself that proposed the bill is amending their own amendments on the [House] floor,” Rep. Vicki Strong, R-Albany, told True North. “I’ve never seen that in the eight years that I’ve been there. They are making it up as they go. That’s not right for my constituents or the citizens of Vermont.”

Earlier that morning, Vermont Law Enforcement Against Gun Control, a gun rights group comprised of off-duty law enforcement, held a news conference at the Statehouse and criticized S.55 and other gun restrictions as ineffective and unenforceable.

“I took an oath more than 15 years ago to serve the people of this great state and protect your rights, and that’s why I’m here today,” Hardwick Police Chief Aaron Cochran said.

Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia and vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers should focus more on how Angela McDevitt, 17, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., prevented a school shooting in Fair Haven, Vt.

“She had the courage to stand up amongst her compatriots and say, ‘Something is not right here, and I want to make sure something bad doesn’t happen.’ Why are we not promoting programs to help kids like her actually make a difference in what we are facing?” Benning said at the presser.

Evan Hughes, vice president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, claimed some aspects of the bill can’t work because they don’t fit real-world gun equipment scenarios.

“The point on all of the gun control amendments is that they are unenforceable and ineffective,” Hughes said. “Like with the magazine ban, there’s no way to tell when a magazine was manufactured — they are not dated and they don’t have serial numbers.”

The push for gun control has big implications for Vermont, which has bipartisan support for gun freedom and ownership. On Twitter, one observer suggested that Democrat lawmakers will lose their jobs in November due to a lack of support from gun-owning moderates in their own party:

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

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

27 thoughts on “House passes gun control and sends back to Senate, law enforcement forms opposition

  1. And, at last, FINALLY:
    Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

    District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) – The Court ruled the Second Amendment to reference an individual right, holding:
    “The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”[1]

    McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010) – The Court ruled that the Second Amendment was incorporated against state and local governments, through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[2]
    In the decision, the Court said:
    In Heller, we held that the Second Amendment protects the right to possess a handgun in the home for the purpose of self-defense. Unless considerations of stare decisis counsel otherwise, a provision of the Bill of Rights that protects a right that is fundamental from an American perspective applies equally to the Federal Government and the States. We therefore hold that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.[3]

    Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. ___ (2016) – The Court ruled that the Second Amendment extends to all forms of bearable arms:
    The Court has held that the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding, and that this Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States.[4]

  2. For the record!
    U.S. Constitution
    Second Amendment
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

  3. For the record!
    Vermont Constitution
    Article 16. [Right to bear arms; standing armies; military power subordinate to civil]
    That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State–and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

  4. These leftist nannies will not stop until the Second Amendment is eliminated. Thank you Justice Stevens for outing their true motives. Since these Dem-Progressives claim to be so concerned about the safety of children, perhaps it is time they introduce legislation to raise the voting and driving age to 21, as well as the age of consent. If people under 21 can’t be trusted to purchase a firearm, they shouldn’t be trusted to vote, drive a vehicle or consent to sexual contact or obtain an abortion without the consent of a custodial adult. I’d also suggest the age for purchasing smart phones should be raised to 21 since these devices are to blame for deaths caused by texting. The only question that remains is whether Vermonters who support the Bill of Rights will rise up and take back this state? Only obey Constitutional laws!

    • I wish I had the money to organize the student population into a mob promoting those great recommendations. (Just pay their teachers to give them the orders; the kids would be eager to get another day away from classes and probably wouldn’t notice how such legislation would affect them). But, alas, I’m not one of their rich Hollywood heroes.

      • So, since Vermonters between the age of 18 and 21 are no longer considered adults for the purpose of purchasing a firearm, can they still be treated as adults in a court of law? If I was a defense lawyer (which I am NOT), I’d be making this argument. All bad humor aside, I hope the 18 to 21 folks who aren’t liberal snowflakes will get off their phones on election day and join the rest of us in throwing the gun grabbers out of office, including the turncoat governor. These young people need to learn that inside every Progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.

        • Thank you very much for your postings, data, research and time. Very enlightening, material not normally at hand. Hope people also read and act positively and drum the Socialists out, and the Rino Governor. Wonder if the gun issues (and many other) make the pendulum swing back to reality. Given the comments, I hope besides the reader, the Legislative body does as will and see the tide rising against them. Hope is eternal. Walk the plank Dems.

  5. My comment with a suggestion for fighting back was not allowed. It was deemed “you already said that” which is not true. Now, even the media has it in for gun owners.

    • Once you click send you have to wait a second or two for it to post, it has happened to me also.

  6. We need to make a list of the reps and senators that support this stupid bill. That list needs to be published and made available to every voter in the state. Many people do not know who their representative is much less how they vote on the issues. We need a coordinated effort to get rid of the idiots in November. Scott is already gone unless he has a change of heart.

    • Go to the Vermont web site, you can see who voted for it. It isn’t the easiest site to navigate but you can find it.

  7. I found this encouraging,what with our elected legislators selling The People of Vermont and it’s Constitution out,I commend Vermont’s law enforcement officers who are will to speak up for the respective Constitutions.

  8. I called Scott’s office and spoke to some lady that listened to me somewhat patiently, I informed her that as a former chairman of the republican party, that I had worked for, and campaigned for Phil Scott for guv. But, at this time I will not support him, and will lobby against him if he allows the liberals to tell him how to run this state and upend our state constitution and 2nd amendment to our US constitution. She thanked me for the input and ‘said’ she’d pass it on to him.
    I hope I didn’t interrupt her coffee break or bore her too much.

    What do I do with handguns and rifles I own that come with over 10 round mags? Throw them away? There are no mags available for my handguns with less than 10 round capacity. Has everyone in the capital lost their minds??

  9. Vermont stand your ground donot let those anti gunners trying to change your Constitutional Carry state CT IS about to get rid of our Democratic traitors. You do the same!

  10. No surprise at all here. All the left has been doing is waiting for an excuse. This is largely the result of single issue thinking and the inability to connect issues together down to a common ideological point. That point being whether man is at the top or are we created by God. If there is no God, there are no rights, except that which those who are in power grant. Our entire experiment in ordered liberty hinges on that singular point, which is made clear in our nation’s July 4, 1776 creed. If God is real, then we should consider His nature and the laws of nature that He laid down. Start counting the times Vermont has made policy that goes against the created order, including that man has free will and a desire to be god (not subjects to anyone else) himself. This is but one of a long list. Self defense against other people as individuals or as groups (including government) fits the Biblical narrative to a tee. Anyway, just some food for deeper thought. Keep getting knocked off one at a time, or dig down establish a basis for the rights we have a fight together from a foundation where individual liberty makes sense. It only makes sense under a worldview where individual human life has a very high value. Sorry, the hoax of species-to-species evolution just does not provide a tenable foundation for individual liberty or any individual rights, except might makes right. I know this is not popular in Vermont or much of our nation, but ignore such thinking at your own peril. You most certainly have that God-given freedom.

    • * Natural Law: ‘Natural law (Latin jus naturale) is law that exists
      independently of the positive law of a given political order, society or
      nation-state. It is simultaneously a legal philosophy or perspective, and a
      genre of law – depending on the jurisdiction in which the term is used.

      ‘As a genre, natural law is the law of nature-that is, the principle that
      some things are as they are, because that is how they are. This use is
      especially valid in Scotland, where “natural law” operates as a genre of law
      parallel to both civil and criminal law, and its discussion is not limited
      to human beings. The law of gravity, for example, is a natural law in this

      ‘As a philosophical perspective, especially in the English and American
      legal traditions, the principles of natural law are expressed, obliquely or
      openly, in such documents as Magna Carta and the Declaration of
      Independence, when rights are discussed, explicitly or implicitly, as being
      inherent. For example, the expression “…that all men are created equal,
      that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
      expresses a natural law philosophy.’

      A general dissolution of Principles and Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader….If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.”

      Samuel Adams

  11. Vermont , this is only step one for the ” Leftist Gun Haters ” that have transplanted here and
    now making laws to take your rights !! Yeah,Yeah they say they don’t want to confiscate your
    guns …………………. SURE !!

    Some how we need to get ” All Gun Owners ” in VT to take a stand, make sure these Liberal
    fools are sent packing……………. They don’t care about Vermonters Rights & Constitution !!

    What’s sad is that they used the Kids to push there agenda ( Cowards ) The Governor states
    we need to have a civil discussion between ” Anti & Pro ” groups. It’sseems a little late for that
    as he has already mades up his mind ” Give Me A Bill and I’ll Sign it ” and these liberal hacks
    made sure it was loaded with there manifesto ( shameful )

    Take Back Vermont ……………….Before it to late !!

    • I have a bill for Mr. Governor that won’t be signed,come the next election,a vote of no confidence by Not voting for him.
      I will vote and actively work for his challenger,of which there is one and I have spoken with him.

      The same goes for my so called representatives as they have proven themselves un worthy of public trust,as they have all violated their oath,the Vermont and U S Constitutions,I will actively work towards their ouster.

      I Will Remember Now and in November !

    • The only discussion the left will have is one that moves things there way, which is guns out of the possession of all citizens, and there will be one discussion followed by a concession after another until they get their end goal. This is a pattern. Look at the other issues they have pushed onto Vermonters. Sadly Phil Scott is naive on this and so far what I have seen planning to run against him is far more of a concern … if you dig deep enough or even follow much of the insanity being hysterically pushed. Opportunist seeking power anyway possible. Scott is more naive than a power seeker, at least that is my take having served four years in the Senate with him.

  12. I really think that we have a bunch of idiots in the legislature. I believe that they have an agenda that is financed by out of State interest and they are not going to stray away from their agenda regardless of anything the opposition says.. They just won’t listen to facts. Shame, shame on them all.

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