In this issue...
- A handy "HOW TO" on calling your state legislators
- The Vermont bills that we're watching closely, and what you can do
- Contact Gov. Scott about waiting periods for gun purchases
- Attorney General TJ Donovan signs on to multistate ghost gun suit
- Encouraging news from Virginia
- Take the leap before leap day--become a sustaining member
How to reach your state legislators
State legislators do not have their own phone lines in the State House. The best way to get a phone message to them during the session is to call the sergeant-at-arms' office and ask them to deliver a message. This may sound awkward, but it really does work. Those messages get delivered and lawmakers pay attention!
FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/
Here's the scoop on TWO bills that we are watching closely:
Where it is right now: House Judiciary Committee
What it does
- Closes the "Charleston Loophole"--It will do away with the "default proceed" for gun sales, whereby a gun seller is able to sell without a cleared federal background check if that background check takes more than three days.
- Offers protection for victims of domestic violence--It will require that subjects of relief from abuse orders (RFAs) relinquish any firearms in their possession for the duration of the order. It also prohibits subjects from purchasing or possessing firearms, and allows the court to issue warrants to temporarily seize firearms when an RFA order is filed.
- Expands Protection Orders-- It will allow family and household members to file a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order, and allow healthcare professionals to notify law enforcement when a person may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
What you can do:
Call your Representative (see HOW TO above) and ask them to vote YES on H.610 when it comes to the House floor for a full vote.
Where it is right now: Senate Judiciary Committee
What it does:
- Create a 48-hour waiting period for most gun sales--Any gun sale or transfer that would require a background check would also be subject to a 48-hour waiting period.
What you can do:
Call your state Senator (see HOW TO above) and tell them that you are in support of a waiting period for all gun purchases, and that you hope they will review the evidence about their effectiveness.
Contact Gov. Scott about waiting periods for gun purchases
When Governor Scott vetoed a bill last spring that would have required a 24-hour waiting period for handgun sales, he stated that he needed to see evidence proving that a waiting period would slow Vermont’s high rate of suicide and save lives. On January 23, Vermont Senate President Tim Ashe convened a joint meeting of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Health and Welfare Committees to hear from Harvard Business School Professors Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra--two of the nation's leading researchers on the efficacy of gun waiting periods in preventing suicides and protecting public health. Their extensive 2017 study shows that waiting periods for handgun purchases can reduce suicide rates by up to 11%. Homicide rates were reduced by an even greater percentage. Waiting periods protect some of the most vulnerable among us by creating a buffer between thought and action.
What you can do:
Email Governor Scott or call him at 802-828-3333 and let him know that something as simple as a waiting period can help save lives. Ask him to review the evidence.
Multistate lawsuit to counter "ghost guns"
Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan joined a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s latest effort to allow 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet. These files would provide access to blueprints for 3D-printed firearms, also known as “ghost guns,” that are unregistered, untraceable, and difficult to detect. As a result of a previous multistate lawsuit, a federal judge struck down the Trump Administration’s prior attempt to allow the release of the files. However, the Administration renewed its efforts by publishing formal rules that would transfer regulation of 3D-printed guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, effectively allowing their unlimited distribution. Vermont was joined in filing yesterday’s lawsuit by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Persistence and progress in Virginia
Less than two weeks after they were confronted by tens of thousands of angry gun rights protestors, Virginia lawmakers in the Democratic-led House of Delegates on Thursday passed seven new gun reform measures. Versions of five of the measures have already cleared the state Senate, and Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is likely to sign the reconciled versions that come to his desk. The bills include a universal gun background check proposal that, once made law, will mean that more than half of Americans are subject to some form of universal background checks under their state codes. (from The Trace)
Take the leap before leap day! Become a sustaining member.
Our AMAZING sustaining members are a group of dedicated individuals who have chosen to fight gun violence with a regular monthly gift to GunSense VT. When YOU become a sustaining member by Feb. 29th, you will receive a fabulous GunSense t-shirt along with a feeling of pride and fulfillment in knowing that you are making a difference!
What can a monthly donation to GunSense do?
- $5/month will print important materials for advocates and lawmakers
- $10/month will get our message into effective online ads
- $25/month will help launch a radio campaign to pass a waiting period bill
- $50/month or more will bring students from all over the state to Montpelier to advocate for a safer Vermont