In the spring of 2018, after the interception of a potential school shooting at Fair Haven High School, and with the encouragement of Governor Phil Scott, Vermont legislators bravely and quickly moved forward bills—some of which had been previously stagnant in the judiciary committee for as long as three years:
H.422 – Will allow police to remove guns from people cited for domestic assault (women are five times more likely to be killed in domestic violence situations with a gun present). This law will become enacted on September 1. It may prevent future deaths of Vermonters like Anako Lumumba, a South Burlington woman murdered in May 2018, who had reported to police less than a year earlier that her partner was violent and had guns.
S.221 – Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO or red flag law--enables family members and law enforcement to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms.) One day after being signed into law in April 2018, ERPO allowed police to seize guns from the 18-year-old who threatened Fair Haven High School. According to the Brady Center, 42% of mass shooters exhibited warning signs or concerning behaviors prior to their crimes.
S.6 – The most sweeping of Vermont’s new laws, will include: background checks for transfer of firearms, including private sales; a ban on bump stocks; a minimum age of 21 to purchase firearms unless the individual has taken firearm safety course; a handgun magazine limit of 15 rounds and rifle magazine limit of 10 rounds. Background checks have been proven to be the most effective method of keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
In 2016, the three Democratic candidates running for Governor stated they supported and would sign legislation for Universal Background Checks on all gun purchases if elected, positions that were unheard of just a few short years ago.
In 2015, we were successful in advocating for, and helping to pass, meaningful common-sense gun legislation in Vermont, the first such legislation in decades. The S.141 gun violence prevention bill of 2015 prohibits violent felons and mentally incompetent persons (who have been adjudicated in court as a danger to themselves or others) from possessing weapons.