Editor’s note: This is a statement from Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP, regarding rumors of a protest at the Capitol in Montpelier.
It has come to my attention through various vague media reports that there is a rumor of some kind of protest planned at the capitol building in Montpelier this weekend. While we support everyone’s right to peaceably assemble, just like the thousands of VTers gathered in pink hats four years ago to protest a new administration, I must in the strongest terms possible caution anyone who is considering involvement.
First, I want to stress that to my knowledge not one Republican I know has plans to attend, or has any interest in attending such an event here in VT. While VT holds a proud tradition of a right to bear arms, doing so at this rally in our current climate in light of what happened last week would demonstrate an incredible lapse of judgement.
We support everyone’s right to peaceably protest their government. The best way to demonstrate that your intents are peaceful is to act peacefully. So if you know of anyone going to such a protest please encourage them to bring nothing with them which could be used as a weapon. If you feel that you need a weapon for your own safety, I would strongly encourage you not to attend the event at all – that may be the safest approach for everyone involved.
For years gun rights groups have been able to demonstrate peacefully, often times exercising their right to bear arms and it has never, ever been a problem. But doing so this weekend may ensure that it happens for the last time. We face a near super-majority of Democrats in the VT legislature and one tragic event could be all that separates us from measures that would otherwise be unprecedented and unnecessary.
There are many other ways to demonstrate your opposition to what is going on. You can write to or call your representatives or start a petition. You can also join the Republican Party to help create the kind of change that you want to see in our state and in our party by helping to elect more Republican House and Senate members who want to protect individual rights, govern in a fiscally responsible way, and lead our state to stable and prosperous growth.”