Vermont Activists Protest State's New Gun Laws

Lawmakers wanted to act quickly in the aftermath of Parkland. That’s understandable. They knew damn well that if they didn’t act quickly, public opinion would swing away from supporting gun control measures and they’d never get the new rules to pass.

One state that acted quickly was Vermont. They passed a number of gun control measures.

While some of those bills aren’t particularly controversial, some are. They’re controversial enough for pro-Second Amendment activists to step up and demand their voices be heard.

Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott pledged to sign three new gun-control bills next week, making it easier for the state to confiscate firearms from certain people.

The first bill would make it easier to confiscate guns from someone considered to be at risk of harming themselves or others. The second allows the police to confiscate firearms from anyone whose been arrested or cited for domestic violence. The third bill would raise the gun purchase age to 21 and expand background checks. It would also ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines, according to WVNY.

Hundreds of Second Amendment supporters gathered in South Burlington Saturday to protest the Governor’s decision and express their disappointment.

“Those bills won’t be able to protect us,” pre-school teacher Naomi Snelling told WVNY. “I know how to protect myself and other people, and I know the lines of when [sic] I need to draw that.”

The truth of the matter is that Snelling is right. They won’t protect anyone. The extreme risk protection orders might, but only if they’re utilized correctly. As we’ve seen with both Parkland and the YouTube shooting, warnings were ignored completely. A protective order doesn’t work if no one will take the threats seriously.

Instead, I see these being used as a punishment by vengeful people. Make a few phone calls, say Joe is a risk, and boom. No more guns for Joe.

Confiscating guns from those with domestic violence convictions is another iffy kind of thing, but that’s another topic for another time. I will note that the Parkland shooter allegedly engaged in domestic violence, but no one ever arrested him. If they had, he’d have been legally barred from purchasing a gun.

What we can’t ignore is the raising of the legal age to buy long guns to 21, so-called “expanded background checks,” and the ban on bump stocks and high capacity magazines.

First, while the Parkland killer was under 21 years old, there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t have obtained a firearm in some other way. There’s also no reason to believe that if he hadn’t obtained a firearm, he wouldn’t have planned another attack with some other weapon such as a car or a bomb.

Bump stocks have been used, so far as I’ve been able to find, in exactly one crime. One. But bump stocks are being banned like there’s some epidemic of them being used for criminal enterprises. There’s not.

It should also be noted that high capacity magazines were banned for a while via the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, and while crime dropped during that time, it also continued to drop after the law sunsetted. In other words, there was no impact.

So Snelling is right. Nothing will change, nothing at all. No one will be any safer.

Somehow, though, I suspect the lawmakers who supported these laws already know that.