Where we're headed in 2020

There has never been a more important time to support work at the state level. See where we're headed in 2020.

Movement on the federal bipartisan background checks bill has stalled out indefinitely and the gridlock in Washington is unlikely to abate long enough to introduce any new gun violence prevention legislation. As we continue to advocate for improved community resources and support here at home, we must simultaneously address the easy access to guns that can turn a difficult situation into a deadly one. That's where GunSense comes in.

Closing the Charleston Loophole
Under federal law, if a federally licensed firearm dealer who has initiated a background check has not been notified within three business days that the sale would violate federal or state laws, the dealer may proceed with the sale by default. This “default proceed” provision allowed 4,864 prohibited purchasers to buy guns in 2017 before a background check cleared, including the perpetrator of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, which resulted in the deaths of nine people. Extending the three day period would reduce the number of prohibited purchasers who obtain guns through this loophole.

Expanding the Extreme Risk Protection Order law
Vermont's current law, passed in 2018, permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. An expansion of this law would allow medical professionals to do the same, and would require uses of the law to be reported back to the Vermont legislature for tracking.

Protecting victims of domestic violence
We will be working to advance a bill that would mandate that relief-from-abuse orders include a provision requiring the defendant to relinquish his or her firearms and other dangerous or deadly weapons until the order expires. The bill also proposes to make it a crime for a person to possess a firearm if the person is the subject of a relief from abuse order.

Growing GunSense's education and outreach initiatives to...

  • Educate the public and law enforcement about Vermont's new gun laws, including our Extreme Risk law
  • Support youth in their organizing efforts and give them a platform to make their voices heard
  • Strengthen our work with professionals in the fields of domestic violence, suicide prevention, mental health, medicine, law enforcement, and public health
  • Build GunSense into a sustainable and efficient organization that can proactively work toward a safer Vermont for as long as necessary

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