Gun Control Legislation Is Dead On Arrival In Vermont


Vermont may be a near total liberal disaster, but there’s still enough Ethan Allen blood running through the veins of her people and attempting to legislate gun controls is turning out to be a VERY bad idea.  Just ask Chittenden County Senator, Phil Baruth.

Baruth, who represents the liberal bastion of Chittenden County, offered up a strong dose of gun control with proposed legislation S-32 – a bill that in some ways was even stricter than New York’s recently passed legislation.  It was not well received.

Today – before the bill was even presented for consideration, Baruth yanked it off the table and issued the following statement as to why:

“After much thought, I’ve decided to withdraw S32, a proposed ban on assault weapons.  It was a difficult decision, and one I fear will disappoint those who have written expressing their support.  I began thinking about the bill after the Gabby Giffords shootings in Arizona, thought more seriously about it following Aurora, and had it finally drafted in the wake of Sandy Hook.  

It seemed to me that with the Federal government paralyzed, it had been left to the states to address both the mental health and gun-related components of these tragedies.

But it is painfully clear to me now that little support exists in the Vermont Statehouse for this sort of bill.  It’s equally clear that focusing the debate on the banning of a certain class of weapons may already be overshadowing measures with greater consensus, like tightening background checks, stopping the exchange of guns for drugs, and closing gun show loopholes.  Finally, as incoming Majority Leader, I owe it to my caucus to remove an issue that seems increasingly likely to complicate our shared agenda this biennium.

To the many responsible gun-owners with whom I’ve communicated over the last several weeks: I’ve heard you.  Please hear me when I say that government is not your enemy – we are all alike threatened by the kind of violence we saw in Newtown, violence that is clearly spreading.  And all of us are responsible for stopping it.  It’s my hope that with this ban set aside, you’ll join more willingly in that effort.”

Baruth’s statement is almost comical.  He tries very hard to justify his initial actions and then does a 180 and tries very hard to sooth some very irritated senators at the statehouse in Montpelier.  I’m quite certain he was told that any chance of reelection and maintaining control of Vermont’s government hinged on his proposal.  Democrats may be dumb, but they’re not stupid.

This attempt is quite similar to the recent bluster issued by the mayor of Barre, Vermont, who tried to force local gun show coordinators into following his “made up on the spot” regulations, even though he has absolutely no power or authority to do so.  Those gun show representatives very politely refused the mayor’s “suggestions” and he then proceeded to climb down off his high horse.

The State’s largest City of Burlington is attempting to enact gun control, but they’re going about it legally.  The Queen City government will attempt to amend its Charter, which is exactly how such laws are supposed to be enacted.  That’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s not supposed to be easy – just as the US Constitution is not easily amended.