Top lawmakers warn Gov. Scott against signing S.55 gun control bill

Michael Bielawski/TNR

LAST STAND AGAINST GUN CONTROL: About two dozen lawmakers gathered to send a final message to Gov. Phil Scott on the controversial gun bill S.55, which includes expanded background checks, magazine limits, a ban on bump stocks, and an increase in the gun purchase age.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — On Tuesday, top lawmakers met in the Cedar Creek Room at the Statehouse to urge Gov. Phil Scott to veto controversial S.55 gun legislation and sign less objectionable gun bills instead.

The bill, which the governor plans to sign Wednesday afternoon in a pubic ceremony, includes background checks for all private sales, a magazine limit of 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns, raising the gun purchase age to 21, and a ban on bump stocks.

Two of the four state lawmakers to speak, Sens. Dick Sears, of Bennington, and John Rodgers, of Essex-Orleans, are Democrats. If Scott signs S.55, Rodgers said he would consider making a run for governor to defeat him.

“I’m here to call on Governor Scott today to keep his word and live up to his campaign promises that he would not sign legislation that takes away rights from law-abiding Vermonters,” Rodgers said. “Many thousands of Vermonters donated money, helped fundraisers and convinced others to vote for Governor Scott and came out to vote for him based on that promise.”

Rodgers hinted that Scott’s actions on guns will have a strong influence on his decision about a 2018 bid.

“There’s been a whole bunch of people asking me to run for governor. … I was certainly thinking about it, but I don’t think the signing or vetoing of this bill alone, I don’t think gets me to that decision. There’s much more to take in.”

After the news conference, House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, said there’s a sense of opportunity for pro-gun rights lawmakers to win seats.

“I think there is an opportunity to have candidates become interested in the process at this point,” he said. “We need a greater balance, but … it can’t be a one-issue candidate.

“I think that people are angry — I think that people may now say they are interested and put their petition in, but doing that and getting to the ‘Remember November’ is another story all on its own.”

Rep. Patrick Brennan, R-Colchester, said he has noticed an increase in support for new Republican candidates in his community.

“We have a local Republican committee meeting every other Monday, normally with about 8 or 10 people. But we had 36 people there and four candidates last night.”

He added, “I would urge Governor Scott one more time to honor his campaign promise and veto S.55 and honor his promises to the sportsmen and women of Vermont.”

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who also opposes S. 55, said he wants Scott to sign S.221, which allows guns to be taken away from anyone a judge has determined to be an extreme risk to himself or others. He also urged the signing of H.422, which allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms during an alleged domestic violence situation.

“I think it’s important for Vermonters to recognize that all these groups that usually don’t even talk to each other, or usually talk all over each other, came together to develop two important bills,” Sears said.

“I want to thank the Gun Owners of Vermont, Vermont Traditions Coalition, Gun Sense Vermont, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and many other groups who came together to work on these two bills.”

But Bill Moore, a spokesman for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, said the group only supports the legislation on removing guns in extreme risk situations, and after due process before a judge.

“We only definitively support S.221 as passed by the Senate,” he said.

On S.221, Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, explained how he initially was against the bill but over time he came to support it.

“My first reaction when senator Sears introduced that bill was to scratch my head and say, ‘Are you crazy?’” he said. “But the more that I thought about it and read it, I recognized it was the first actual attempt at getting behind the mind of a shooter before they actually pulled the trigger. And I can’t stress that enough, because every other bill that we’ve been talking about doesn’t come close to getting into the mind of the shooter.”

Keith Stern, a gubernatorial candidate on the Republican side, told True North earlier in the day that he supports the wave of opposition to S.55, and hopes Vermonters will back his attempt to unseat the governor as a result.

“I think people are feeling very betrayed, and with good reason,” 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 “Top lawmakers warn Gov. Scott against signing S.55 gun control bill

  1. The second amendment was put in place to control the government.
    I do not recognize any governments attempt to restrict my access to weapons that put me on a level playing field with whatever force they may choose to use against me. Otherwise the second amendment doesn’t exist in any meaningful way.

    The Government cannot regulate your ability to defend yourself from them. End of story. It would be like the police saying they no longer have to obey the laws that govern the rest of us civilians.

    My vote will show my disapproval.

  2. This anti-gun agenda is a dangerous virus spreading from state to state passing draconian and unconstitutional Bills thus criminalizing every law abiding gun owner… yet do absolutely nothing to stop criminals!!.. All of these bills are knee-jerk feel good actions based on fear, ignorance and hype perpetuated by the left and the media.

  3. How is this possible? How can you restrict the rights for 18-20 year olds? Is it because that age group is more app to leave Vermont and not return so they don’t have to worry about the vote? I can only see this legislation ending up in a court room (probably more than just one) because this is unconstitutional both in the Vermont Constitution and the US Constitution. I hope that we could also bring retribution upon all those that voted in favor of this legislation even if they no longer hold a position in Government.

    This legislation also brings no security or protection to our kids. Restricting the law abiding Vermonter does nothing to prevent a Mentally Ill (and that is what they are) person from going into a school and committing a horrific act! If you disagree with me please state how this this legislation prevents someone from doing that.

  4. Limiting standard magazine capacity under the Made up term “high capacity “ infringes directly with the second amendment. Veto s55!

  5. Governor Scott read the comments on this article or any other. It must be lonely thinking your so right when your wrong. Don’t sign and protect Vermont.

  6. His Lawyer should inform him it withstand a constitutional challenge. He can the bow out gracefully and not sign the bill.

    It was never about school safety. You’ll notice the school safety bill was not first.

  7. It’s nice to know that we have some legislators on both side of the fence that have some real common sense. I thank them for standing up. Now we need some of these same level heading people to run for office in each town or district. The liberal/socialists have way too much power in this State.
    It would be nice to see real republicans and true democrats with Vermont values back in power.

  8. Keith Sterns Rebulican .. will be the solution to Gov. Scotts betrayal to his constituents….
    Gov Scott is NOT acting like a Republican.. hes his own party and his violation of HIS own campaign promises is what we as Vermonters call betrayal…
    He will go down in Vermonts history as one of the worst Governors Vermont has ever had.. Wake up Vermonters it’s time to pray and take a stand for our great State that is being destroyed by the decisions of a wavering governor..and for those that stand with Governor Scott voting day (the voice of the people) is coming soon

  9. To think that I stood side by side on a blustery cold morning at the intersection of 4 and 7 at a sign and wave event for this traitor makes me sick to my stomach. There is never so hollow a feeling as that of betrayal. Come what may, Scott will go down in infamy as one of the worst governors Vermont has ever elected. Name one thing he has done that has made any positive change.

  10. I am glad to see we still have some Legislators with Common Sense , I applaud you for your
    determination !!

    Now I cannot say the same for my Governor, I have always been told that a man is as only as
    good as his word , his word means nothing just rhetoric to get votes ………….shameful.

    I would not have a problem with him in signing ” Gun Control Bills ” if they were really going
    to stop any perpetrator of a crime, these bills are only feel good bills NO solution to the real
    problem …………. Liberals they have tainted our state house and our Governor !!

  11. S-221 is the only bill that makes any sense and is constitutionally supported as it includes Due process of law. I am sorry but having been a supporter of Governor Scott in the past I will never vote for this man again.

  12. A true patriot will not forsake the most important document accompanying our republic from the beginning of it existence for the cause of a ground swell of sensationalism that piggybacked one of the worst failures of law enforcement ever (not law abiding citizens) who will now pay for this debacle if S.55 is signed. Get Keith Stern on the Vermont ballot. That’s who Ill remember in December!

  13. Governor Scott only got my support for his support of second ammendment rights, because there was no candidate strong on pro life rights and I figured the least evil would be support of our second ammendment. Now we have a great candidate who stands strong on pro life as well as second ammendment. A true patriot will not forsake the most important document accompanying our republic from the beginning of it existence for the cause of a ground swell of sensationalism that piggybacked one of the worst failures of law enforcement ever (not law abiding citizens) who will now pay for this debacle if S.55 is signed. Get Keith Stern on the Vermont ballot. That’s who Ill remember in December!

  14. Gun control logic:
    Look at that! The neighbors are all getting so fat. Guess we better give up our forks and spoons! It’s the common sense thing to do.
    Those darn neighbors just had another kid! That’s number 10, way too many! We need common sense birth control. Let’s castrate all men over the age of 75! That ought to do it!
    There are too many drunk drivers on the road! We need a common sense law to solve the problem. Therefore, all you teetotalers turn in your car keys and sell your cars!

    • Sorry guy, I’m 79 and had a vasectomy in 1970. Can’t produce more conservatives. Was in school in CT at the time, very Catholic State that wouldn’t allow the operation. Had to go to RI in a docs office. Now CT is outlawing guns, nothing changed. And the damn fools (Braden) moved to VT to take our guns away, Gun Sense VT and outside money. What a communistic state CT (still) is.

  15. As a backer of Scott for election, I thought we finally had a chance for a reasonable constitutionally minded governor. I campaigned for him and was proud to have supported him. Those days are over. A wolf in sheeps clothing. VT is known nationally as the state with the lowest violent crime rate, and the best gun laws. Now he wants to change that? I suggest he start practicing his ability to say “and do you want fries with that?”

  16. From the beginning of his term Governor Scott has demonstrated his willingness to withhold support for President Trump and has frequently and voluntarily given ground to the opposition when not necessary. Just look at the marijuana bill even though he said he wanted standards to ensure public safety before he would approve it, he signed it anyway.

    Now the 2nd amendment, another change of hart prematurely given and a promise to be soon broken.

    He seems consistently moving in the wrong direction, I hope he finds himself soon as he seems to be lost; why else would he think an Advertising Campaign will solve our Economic Development woes.

    Support is a two way street!

  17. There can be no excuse for continuing to support GOP candidates who aren’t prepared to remain loyal to their voters’ wishes, or who actively betray them by signing away their rights. The Left has no such issues because their voters direct their anger against candidates like that in the Primaries and the General Election. They do no tolerate Democratic candidates who betray their voters.

    GOP voters are going to have to be as ruthless in culling RINOs in the Republican Party as the Left is about doing the same in the Democratic Party.

  18. I commend these legislature members for doing this. We will have a long road ahead in repairing the damage these bills, S. 55 in particular, will do, but I also see this as a new beginning. We will start to see more political balance in Vermont, and we WILL regain our gun freedoms — make no mistake.

  19. I know my self and others won’t be voting again for the gov.,perhaps he is depending on support from all of his Leftist supporters ! Remember In November,Never Again Benedict Scott.

    • Just for your info, Benedict Arnold got a bum rap. He financed the Revolutionary War and the Congress wouldn’t reimburse so he turned tail and eventually died in England. Benedict is a relative. Also Teddy Roosevelt is a relative, his mother was a Bullock of GA. There is an Archibald Bullock Roosevelt, very decorated military guy. Both buried in Oyster Bay L.I. NY. hence my lineage and more. Look at MT Rushmore, Teddy’s there.

      Given your writings against what Scott is doing and the Socialists in Montpelier, you and others can be classified as a “Benedict”. I’m definitely an anti- Montpelier Benedict.

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