Vermont "gun violence prevention" bill may put lives at risk

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Northeast has a couple of gun-friendly states, but for the most part, they love gun control. It’s ironic that this is also the same part of the nation where much of the Revolution was fought–a war sparked by the British coming to seize arms.

States like Vermont are now very different. Not only would they roll over for the British, but they’d also have probably saved the Red Coats the trip to take the weapons.

I say that because the Vermont Senate has now passed new gun control regulations.

On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate passed the Gun Violence Prevention Bill, formally known as H.230, in a bid to reduce gun violence and suicide deaths by firearm.

The bill would create a 72-hour waiting period for firearm transfers, and also institutes a negligent storage provision and expands eligible petitioners for Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

“Vermonters want sensible gun violence prevention laws,” said Sen. Dick Sears, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, in a statement. “H.230 will help reduce community violence, prevent suicides and save lives.”

Except that it really won’t.

Oh, I’ve seen the stats, but it’s funny how they typically only look at gun suicides, not suicides as a whole. “They can’t get a gun so there’s no gun suicide” is a hell of a take when suicide rates as a whole remain largely unchanged.

If they were serious about addressing suicide, lawmakers would be working on mental health efforts to prevent people from wanting to take their own life, to get these people the help they need, rather than piling on restrictions.

Further, those waiting lists? They’re dangerous.

Remember that 72 hours, or three days, may not seem like a long time for most of us. While it’s inconvenient to wait three days for a gun, most of us can do it if we had to. After all, if our NICS check is delayed, we’re waiting anyway.

But that’s most people.

The woman whose stalker is now getting more threatening might not have 72 hours.

The inner city grandmother who is getting threats from the gangs in her neighborhood because they think she ratted them out may not have 72 hours.

The guy whose one-night stand turns out to be “rabbit in the stew pot” crazy might not have 72 hours.

Waiting three days might be fatal for the woman who has finally worked up the courage to leave her abusive husband, but knows he won’t just accept her decision and will try and kill her for it.

While most of us buy guns for general, unspecified threats we feel we might face, there is a subsection of the population facing threats that are anything but vague. For them, three days may be far too long of a wait.

The problem is that no one in Vermont seems interested in thinking about these people. They’d much rather get that sweet gun control money and keep pushing that agenda, willfully oblivious to the lives they might well be putting in jeopardy.

Bad as that is, though, we also know they’ll be patting themselves on the back for supposedly saving people’s lives when they’ve done nothing of the sort.

This bill passed the Senate but now needs to go to the House before arriving on the governor’s desk. While it’s unlikely to face any significant opposition, I sincerely hope I’m wrong on that and this bill gets killed.

Especially since a right delayed is a right denied, which means waiting periods are a direct infringement of Vermont residents’ civil liberties.

Then again, the Northeast doesn’t care about those kinds of things anymore.