Hundreds show for hot hearing on new gun regulations for Vermont

RANDOLPH, Vt. — About 300 people filled Judd Hall at Vermont Technical College on Tuesday evening to voice concerns about new gun legislation being proposed at the Statehouse.

The Senate Judiciary Committee listened in as more than 50 speakers, one by one, approached the table at the front of the hall to express their opinions.

The hottest topics of the night centered on S.22, a proposed 48-hour waiting period for gun sales and a mandatory safe-storage requirement for guns.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

SEA OF ORANGE: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were surrounded by gun rights advocates as they heard public opinions on new gun-control proposals including a 48-hour waiting period and safe storage requirements for gun ownership.

Tabitha Armstrong, of Glover, spoke about how the waiting period and safe storage requirements will compromise her own safety.

“How am I to defend myself if someone was to break in if I’ve got to unlock my safe or load my weapon and remove a trigger guard in just a few seconds?” she asked. “As a woman and a mother, there are few times at home when I can comfortably and safely wear my firearm while completing other tasks.”

Roger Caroll, of Brattleboro, also spoke against the legislation.

“On the one hand I live in a state that allows physician-assisted suicide, and yet you are so concerned about gun suicides — so that’s a little odd right there,” he said. “Second of all, the safe storage has no provisions. How are you going to enforce that?”

Speakers were capped at two minutes each and drawn by lottery. The sea of orange shirts worn by audience members, representing support for gun rights, outnumbered those for gun control by at least a ratio of 3-to-1.

Evelyn Habermann, of Richmond, spoke in favor of the waiting period and gun-safe standard.

“Yes, people who are bent on committing suicide and have planned it for a very long time will wait the two days and they will still do it if that’s what they have the mindset to do,” she said. “But it will reduce the spontaneous acts that are done in the heat of the moment.”

Stephan Raynes, of Calais, who served in the Vermont House and Senate in the 1980s, mentioned the Black family, who lost their teenage son, Andrew Black, to suicide in December after he purchased a gun.

“I’ve seen the photo of Andrew at work on Dec. 3, 2018, looking relaxed and content — a guy I would enjoy talking with, hiking with, having a beer with,” Raynes said. “Three days later he bought a gun at 11:30 and he was dead at 4:00. I can’t but wonder if S.98 [a waiting period Raynes proposed decades ago] had become law, if Andrew would be alive.”

Last to speak was another concerned mother, Angela Sargeant, of Randolph.

“I’m a single mother with three young boys and I also live with my 82-year-old grandmother,” she said. “I am also a woman who has unfortunately been a victim of domestic violence, and I really ask you that women who are in these situations don’t have to wait 48 hours to defend themselves.”

Before the event, key lawmakers told True North some of the concerns they have about the bill, especially after a slew of controversial gun-control bills were passed last year.

“We heard a lot of testimony last year from folks who were claiming that every victim in a domestic abuse situation for the five days immediately after a break-up was the worst period of their lives for fear,” Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said. “It seems to me that bill is running counter to what we heard last year.”

Sen. Mark A. MacDonald, D-Orange, said last year’s gun bills, which included background checks, magazine limits and more, may have been passed without the forethought that was necessary for good policy.

“I think the governor’s bill last year had some rough edges on it regarding the magazine limits, and inheritance, shooting contests, and things like that,” he said. “The committee is here trying to take some of those rough edges off and not have them be any more annoying than they’ve got to be.”

Also before the event began, shooting instructor and three-time House candidate Larry Hamel questioned what gun activists can expect from the committee.

“I think that the Democratic Party has got a set agenda and they are gonna push it through,” he said. “Whether they are gonna listen to us or not, I seriously doubt it.”

Hamel also said he sees some hope for gun-rights advocates. Namely, that Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans, has presented four bills intended to ease the new magazine limits set last year.

“We’ve got an ace-in-hole with John Rodgers — he’s definitely on our side,” he said.

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

31 thoughts on “Hundreds show for hot hearing on new gun regulations for Vermont

  1. One other comment. VT. Digger is a “Pay to Play” outfit. If you don’t purchase a subscription they find an excuse not to publish your comment. What started out as an independent news source that dug for facts in a non-partisan manner has quickly turned into another liberal rag.

  2. I attended the meeting and the testimony was overwhelmingly against the waiting period. Having served in the VT. Legislature for 10 years I knew this was a dog and pony show just to cover Sen. Sears ass to say they held a public hearing. We met the committee at McDonald’s after the meeting. It was there Sen. Sears told me it would likely come out of committee as a compromise with a 24 hr. waiting period. That is exactly what happened. He and Sen. Baruth had this cooked as soon as the bill was taken up in committee. Yet, they insist on dragging good responsible law abiding out at night every chance they get for a gun bill. I believe they laugh about it after each public hearing.

    • I was there in the McDonalds and after that there was also a comment about this is how the tax payers dollars are spent.

  3. There is some more serious than usual censoring going on with Vermont Digger in these past couple of weeks, probably 60% of my own comments at least, if not 80%.

      • If your comment to Digger doesn’t reek of a Marxist left propaganda,it doesn’t qualify as speech for after all that is their idea of a conversation to the left.

      • I have given up on them completely. I do not have time for their non-sense; they can bother some one else but they will not be bothering me any more.
        I have found my venue, it is here.

    • They request donations, if you gave them a Lincoln, it’d be too much. They must be staying in business due to welfare being an arm of the Socialist Government receiving payola. One sick rag.

      If they had a newspaper (?) it’d be used for the bottom of a bird cage.

      • It’s a pay to play scheme. When I quit sending them money, they quit printing my comments.

    • I’ve had 3 comments censored this week. I’m keeping a file of all my rejected comments. Since Digger relies on contributions to operate I’m wondering if there isn’t a class action suit that could be brought. They clearly advocate and protect leftist ideology. If they operate as a non-profit what can be done to punish them as they punish us through censorship or omission of facts? I thought of giving up on them and that’s what they want. Anne can’t get her EB5 documents and she doesn’t like to be censored but she practices it herself. I say, keep your rejected comments, there may be a way to use them to prove just who they are which is another arm of the progressive machine eating up freedom and liberty in Vermont..

    • I just checked this morning. Comments that had been submitted to vt digger articles that I wrote first appeared and were later removed. I believe digger has a certain list of people that they are either punishing or just censoring comments not inline with their liberal mission. This is one of the reasons conservatives can’t get their message out to the uninformed voter/resident. To what other means will they sink to control their message?

      • What is really interesting is the acceptance of certain comments over others. As I understand VTD’s rules for comments, you are supposed to comment on the article NOT on other peoples comments.
        Yet, at least in one case, comments are entirely criticized by one writer. He is quite liberal in his views and it seems VTD gives him tremendous leeway in his remarks. I believe he is from Marlboro and when I write to correct his remarks I am censored immediately. He last accused Neil Johnson of not understanding the machinery of government, of lecturing with his comments.
        Your political leanings are evaluated by VTD. Their rules only apply to some people.

        • ‘Quite liberal’ doesn’t quite describe J.G. from Marlboro. He’s an expert on everything, and if you don’t believe it, just ask him. His favorite is to demand you submit a link to justify your remark. When you pull the same on him, he’ll tell you he’s ‘not your research assistant’. Every time I’ve tried to use that, it’s never printed.

    • The editor is a left wing nut who used to work for the Times Argus. Wacko witch….removes everything that doesn’t comport with her way of twisted thinking.

  4. This whole debacle on Tuesday was all for show. Just like when we had 1200 orange wearing people at the state house and it was called out as dozens by the press. When the anti’s held a rally on the State House lawn, the only ones there were the 10 legislators and their staff, but it was called out by the press as hundreds.
    Previous comments above have hit it all on the head. Whether it be here in VT or in Washington the anti’s have an agenda. That agenda does not include facts, statistics, common sense, etc. It is “we” are here (left wing extremists) to save you from yourself as we know better about all aspects of life than you do. Once we get to a socialistic state you will see “we” were right. Pretty sad (being nice),
    When I questioned Deb Ingram on the 2018 bills, she sent me a package from the Giffords Foundation suggesting it would answer all of my questions about the need for gun legislation. They don’t care that we know they are rabid anti gun people as they just get re-elected over and over.
    Where the hell are our 100K gun owners? We have the votes to stop this but it is the same 200 to 300 pro people at the Statehouse, hearings like Tuesday, etc. fighting for our rights.
    I had a conversation one day with a guy who lives for hunting and shooting. He was for nearly 45 years involved in gun sales and sporting goods retail. His answer to me on the gun bills: I could care less what they do in Montpelier….. I walked away before I did something bad.
    The police presence on Tuesday was overwhelming. Little question that the 30 or so GSVt people called ahead and said they were concerned for their safety from these bad orange shirted monsters.

  5. I am not sure why anyone is surprised by the anit-gun politics advancing in Vermont. After Dick Sears greased the skids by introducing a bill for restrictions on gun rights last session for an anti-gun bill and there was essentially no political price to pay when that bill was used as a vehicle for stripping law-abiding Vermonters of some of their rights, the entire debate took a huge shift. Sears now knows it is safe to move on this issue, as do the rest of the politicians.

    That is the problem when pro-gun folks rely on the wrong people, such as they did with Dick Sears. This selling out of gun owners fits his long pattern of pushing collectivist ideas, but careful to stay within what keeps him in office as he pretends to be a friend of gun owners.

    Vermont GOA leadership was willingly duped by Sears as they played political games with him. It will only get more difficult from here on out.

    • Well he just greased them again offering Buruth a compromise of 24 hour wait for handgun purchases. Sears used to be reasonable but has sold out to Chittendon County (Buruth). He even voted against S 55 last year after he saw the BS of the bill, now he’s making the same mistake. My respect is gone.

  6. Another sham hearing. After they pass this crap the Governor veto it and they will override the veto to test their power. Then we’ll see more unconstitutional laws passed. An assault weapons ban, ammunition taxes, registration etc. They will not be happy until we are fully disarmed. They don’t even think any of this crap legislation thru. Read how good their last piece of legislation on Universal Background Checks worked out. Vermont can’t use the NICS check system. I WILL NOT COMPLY !

    You cannot arm slaves and expect them to remain slaves. Nor can you disarm free men and expect them to remain free. – Don Cline

  7. I would have been there, but am in AL. I deeply appreciate all tat showed and voiced opposition and nailed Baruth. I am a Vt’er, born and schooled.

    One thing I don’t see much written about except by DBean, good comment (and all). My vest would be International Orange such as our KC-135’s had, to more easily identify.

    But, the huge understanding must be realized:
    These Chittenden idiots and other such crapologists rode into VT on their chariots pulled by unicorns with an agenda being schooled believing in Saul Alenisky’s rules for people control AND backed by outside money such as from Soros (move on dot org) etc. Their history of legislation proves this point. VT is a test bed to prove that their ideology works to move onto another state. Their Bills to promote various socialist (660 this legislative year, mostly socialist-and some good conservative bills such as S.11). These people have been mentally molded into outsider influence, money and power.

    I’ve personally been affected by the property valuation(s) orchestrated by the the VT Tax Dept. who dictates policy to the local listers. Falsify as much as possible to get as much as possible, is the rule. It’s cost me a lot of time and money fighting the “establishment”. Now they want my (our) guns, abortion at any stage, even after birth (H.57), Carbon Tax, no elec power sources inside state, Taxes have hit the roof and they want more. The economic outlook is about the worse in the nation,

    On all facets of VT living, all is under control by those incredible devious people like Baruth and LaLonde. When they depart this world, will they be pleased that they left VT in total disrepair, a legacy.otherwise what’s their mentality? It’s not to help people, it’s to destroy a way of long standing life.

    A list of taxes people have to pay, I have a list of over 120 and climbing.

    How sick is sick? Gun control, money control, life control and no property individual control.. The new wave of VT living being the basics of living gone in VT. It’s not basically what this article is about, it’s many facets without any Gov control.

    • An amendment—I’m currently in Al, but just for the winters, a snow bunny as they call us.In my park there are 3 Vt’ers, 3 SD’ers, Canadians, MI, WI, and we all return when all that white crap is gone, I’ll return to the mud season, black flies, ticks (I’ve had to take VA Lyme Disease meds twice now, not fun) My brother almost died because of the disease last year. He had Parkinson like symptoms for about 9 months after. In MO last year a guy died after 11 days of being infected, don’t fool around with it, get meds. It’s a new strain, some meds don’t work.

      Ticks (the deer tick is the size of a match head, hard to know they are there) and Liberals (you know they are there) are VT’s worse. Have to eliminate both.

  8. Just like our local “committee’s” this charade is put up for show. They have no interest in defending the constitution, nor listening to sound reason and the public.

    It they were interested, this bill wouldn’t even be on the floor. We have a large group of people, literally imported when they couldn’t round up enough progressive lemmings in state to foster their agenda. It’s not an American agenda, it’s not part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness coming together to form a more perfect union.

    These men and women in orange would make the best legislative body Vermont has ever had. Many people in our state are not too concerned about 2A, it’s not a sole decision for people to vote others in office.

    We’ve been indoctrinated as a state, to the extent people are triggered by typical words used I a conservative campaign, to which people get no where. An R next to your name will garner you a solid 30%, how does one get the next 20%+?

    We have more in common than many in control want us to believe. Perhaps this is the key.

  9. One concern mentioned by more than one speaker is the intrusion of the state into our lives within our own homes. Firearm bills too often cross that threshold and violate our rights using the justification that it serves the greater public good. The legal barriers that are intended to keep government out of our homes are now being overridden by authoritative, majority thinking that supersedes Constitutional boundaries. There comes a time when the momentum of the majority can be unjustly used to overwhelm the rights of a sizable minority by sheer force of numbers; not for the benefit of the society it purports to enshrine but for the benefit of a favored ideology with an agenda to hold power in order to perpetuate itself. At what point does the average Vermonter, or American in a larger sense, cease to be a worthy citizen with equal rights when the law that existed to preserve those rights is no longer there to protect them?

    • I served this country in uniform for 25 years and swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. No progressive Attorney General and no majority of Constitution-hating progressives in the Legislature can take my rights from me. Should they send their paid thugs with badges to enforce a law that is patently unconstitutional, I will refuse to recognize their authority.

      If I didn’t refuse to blindly obey attempts to deny us our Constitutional rights that my ancestors died defending, I’m not sure how I could live knowing that I failed them.

  10. Baruth said at one point that he had worked for “weeks” on his anti gun legislation. Now wouldn’t it be great is he spent the taxpayer’s money and deep thought on tax reform and give us all a tax law and forms that are understandable. Perhaps he could think of ways to ease the property tax burden on the middle class. There are many ways he could make himself useful and productive instead of sitting around thinking up anti-gun laws that are impossible to enforce. Have you seen a serial number on a thirty round magazine? What a bunch of geniuses we have in Montpelier!

  11. What’s appalling about S.22, is that a legislator who is trying to push his anti-gun agenda on the
    back of a young man that took his own life…….. shameful.

    When someone has the intent to commit suicide, waiting the 48 hrs only means it has delayed the
    inevitable by 48 hrs……. ” Mental Health ” is the issue, not the firearm !! But it’s easier to blame a
    gun because working on MH issues would mean they would really have to work at something.

    Then the same Senator, you can see by these bills, he’s not a real Vermonter. If passed you can
    face a fine and jail time, if within your own house your firearms are not locked in a gun safe !!

    How’s this genius going to enforce that ?? …… It’s all about an anti-gun agenda nothing to do
    with safety………

    While we are on the topic of mental health, can someone write a bill to have all Liberal Legislators
    checked out, Bloomberg Money has clouded there thinking !!

    You vote these fools in !!

    • I have never voted for any of the Chittenden six,ever,as I don’t vote for Leftard Marxists,but I know what you meant with your comment.
      As to your other sentiment,it does appear to be a disease and seems as contagious as the plague and as dangerous.

  12. The moving back under his rock for Baruth has got to be the most fitting symbol of the whole of the legislature. Ship these anti 2nd amendment flatlanders back to the $hitholes from whence they came.

    The guy who said he can’t help wondering if wait period would help is indicative of the classless crud that moved into the state since the 70’s. Making law on Can’t help but wonder has got to be the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard.

  13. They asked for those in the audience to not exercise their first amendment right to clap, that went fairly well until one person who testified said he would cover the costs so sen, Baruth could move back to whatever rock he crawled out from under.
    The applause was thunderous !

    They the legislators were explained that under the Heller decision,so call safe storage had been found to be Un Constitutional,I don’t think most of the legislators cared,so if passed it will result in yet another court case costing the people and the state money neither has. However it will allow Leftist legislators to virtue signal and FEEL good about themselves damn the people of Vermont and their natural rights.

    They were also warned last year that the state police couldn’t do the NICS checks under the so called Universal back round checks,that FFL dealers would have to do the checks. Did the legeslators listen to the council,No they passed it and found out that indeed the council given was correct and they in their zeal to virtue signal were wrong,as they will again be if so called safe storage laws are passed

    Thanks to both GOVT and VTFSC for their work of protecting the rights of “We The People” of Vermont.

  14. Thank God for Vermonters like Eddie Cutler. Hats off to all you guys in orange who attended this kangaroo court and exercised your 1A about your 2A.

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