By Guy Page
The Vermont Senate, under the president pro tem leadership of gun-control advocate Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden), in the first week of the session has introduced a gun control bill aimed at reducing violent crime by youth.
S.4, sponsored by Judiciary Chair Phil Richard Sears (D-Bennington), Baruth, and Brian Campion (D-Bennington), is billed as “An act relating to reducing crimes of violence associated with juveniles and dangerous weapons.”
The bill is not only a gun control bill. For example, it would try in criminal court all persons age 14-21 “charged with human trafficking, trafficking a regulated drug, or carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a felony.” It also would “prohibit a dwelling or building owner from knowingly or recklessly permitting the premises to be used for human trafficking, selling or dispensing a regulated drug, or carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a felony.” And it would provide grant funding to communities suffering from high rates of youth violence.
The bill’s gun control measures, however, are detailed and precise, prohibiting:
- possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number;
- straw purchases of firearms;
- possession of firearms by fugitives from justice;
- possession of semiautomatic assault weapons by persons under 21 years of age.
The bill also would make juvenile case records and files available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for purposes of conducting a background check when a person under 21 years of age purchases a firearm.
The list below comprises all bills introduced into the 2023-24 Vermont Senate as of 10 AM Monday, January 19. The entries for the last two categories are subjective judgments made by Vermont Daily Chronicle and are based mostly on the subject matter, influence and committee status of the sponsor(s), and public response to date.
|Bill #||Introduced||Title||Lead Sponsor||Sponsor party||Committee||Likely to proceed?||High public interest?|
|S.1||1/6/2023||Act 250 and aircraft hangars||Sears||Democrat||Natural Resources||Yes||Yes|
|S.2||1/6/2023||Payment, case management for developmental disability services||Lyons||Democrat||Health & Welfare||Yes||?|
|S.3||1/6/2023||prohibiting paramilitary training camps||Baruth||Democrat||Judiciary||Yes||Yes|
|S.4||1/6/2023||Violent crime reduction for juveniles through gun control||Sears||Democrat||Judiciary||Yes||Yes|
|S.5||1/6/2023||Affordable Heat Act mandate||Bray||Democrat||Natural Resources||Yes||Yes|
|S.6||1/6/2023||Policeinterrogation of juveniles||Sears||Democrat||Judiciary||Yes||Yes|
|S.7||1/6/2023||Public defenderexpanded access||Hashim||Democrat||Judiciary||Yes||?|
|S.8||1/6/2023||appointing counsel for person found incompetent||Hashim||Democrat||Judiciary||Yes||?|
Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.