A lobbyist for an Everytown/Moms Demand front group let the mask slip late last week, admitting that he had to get approval from “the national organization” for a proposed amendment to Senate Bill 141.
During the hearing, lobbyist Tyler Wilkinson-Ray of the Necrason Group in Montpelier said his client, Gun Sense Vermont, would need to look further into a proposed amendment. The amendment, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, did not change the scope of the bill but incorporated changes from several stakeholders.
“It really takes into account suggestions from the Department of Mental Health and the judiciary, and some comments from the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs … as well as, actually, Gun Sense. Everybody had some input,” Sears said.
Nonetheless, Wilkinson-Ray said Gun Sense Vermont would need to explore the implications.
“We need to get national expertise on this before we can approve it,” Wilkinson-Ray said.
Sears appeared to be surprised that Wilkinson-Ray wanted time to study the changes.
“So you have to get a hold of the national organization? Is that your testimony?” he asked.
Opponents of S.141 have seized on the comments, insisting they prove that Gun Sense Vermont is not a Vermont-based grass-roots group. Ed Cutler, president of Gun Owners of Vermont, in a statement distributed by the Vermont Second Amendment Coalition, tied the Gun Sense group to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Everytown For Gun Safety.
“The Gun Owners of Vermont have been saying that Gun Sense Vermont was funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg for two years. We applaud Sen. Dick Sears for uncovering the truth. Now that it is known, we hope the rest of their lies about the good and honest people of Vermont are realized,” Cutler said in his statement.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) states that the Democrat-offered bill is an affront to gun owners, calling it a “solution in search of a problem.”
After weeks of testimony, the Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved Senate Bill 141, a “committee bill” which replaced Senate Bill 31 after the “universal” background check provision was scrapped due to overwhelming opposition from the public. S.141 has taken entire sections of S.31 and is advancing despite large opposition from law-abiding gun owners. If passed by the Senate, it will go to the House of Representatives for approval.
NRA worked on amendments that limited the damage of the original bill, but S.141 remains a solution in search of a problem. This bill is the product of a national gun control group pushing a nationwide agenda in a state which has one of the best public safety records in the country. In short, it is completely unnecessary. It would do nothing to address violent crime and would only impact responsible, law-abiding gun owners.