Vermont Gun Rights Activists Pack Public Hearing

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Gun owners in Vermont aren’t happy.

It seems their state wants to restrict not just how they store firearms, but also impose a 48 hour waiting period on all gun sales. Now, they’re letting their voices be heard as they packed a public hearing recently.

Dozens of gun rights advocates clad in hunter orange attended a public hearing Tuesday evening on several firearms bills being discussed by Vermont lawmakers.

While five bills are currently under review, Bill S.22 was the center of discussion for a majority of Vermonters who testified before the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation would create a 48-hour waiting period for all firearms sales and introduce new restrictions on firearm storage.

“We are being told that we need to limit our rights for the health and welfare of others,” said Milton resident Scott Champman. “This is nothing but discrimination for anyone who wants to exercise their second amendment rights.”

Many of the gun rights advocates at Tuesday’s hearing wore pearl necklaces. Last week, several Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives wore them during a hearing on gun control. Several people who testified at that hearing said they felt mocked by the necklaces, adding that it implied activists were “clutching their pearls.”

Not everyone was opposed to the proposals. In particular, the waiting period was supported by some who believed it would prevent suicides by firearm. However, at least one gun rights advocate had a valid point on that issue.

“A waiting period would only delay the inevitable,” said Devon Craig of Plainfield. “I witnessed most of Mr. and Mrs. Black’s testimony. The planned suicide of their son is tragic, I know. My father and my only brother committed suicides by firearms. I firmly believe their suicides were inevitable.”

While it may stop a few who are acting on impulse, it’s unlikely to stop the vast majority. A lot of suicides are planned. They’re planned well in advance, and people can wait a couple of days for a gun to finish their plan.

Even if they couldn’t, all this will do is push them to use some other form of suicide. You can’t legislate away a mental health issue, but that’s what Vermont lawmakers appear to be trying to do. It won’t work.

Meanwhile, people who suddenly find themselves in need of a gun due to a stalker or some other threat may well die while waiting those 48 hours.

Yes, that’s a concern — a real one.

I get that people want to prevent suicides. But I rather they focus on helping those people, so they don’t feel suicide is the only solution to their problems rather than trying to create legislation that negatively impacts the rest of society detrimentally. That’s precisely what Vermont is doing and these pro-gun activists know it.

Once again, anti-gun nimrods are looking to blame the tool, not the tool using it. Such is par for the course with lawmakers up that way these days.