By Sara Tipton
Despite earlier defeats, gun control advocates are still pushing legislation in Vermont. The restrictive measures against firearms were thought to be dead earlier this year, however, two provisions of the original bill put forward obtained committee support last week. Vermont bill S.31 has been hotly debated among lawmakers and gun rights groups. The bill was introduced by state Senators John Campbell, Phillip Baruth, and Claire D. Ayer. All sponsors of this bill are Democrats . . .
The original text of the bill included a provision that would require a background check on all gun sales, including private party sales, but excluding those between family members. That portion of the bill has been removed due to extreme opposition from vocal gun rights groups.
The two measures that did pass the committee’s scrutiny are vague in application. One measure allows the state of Vermont to prosecute felons in possession of a firearm; and the other requires the “dangerous mentally ill” to be reported to the federal background check system.
“We support reporting the names of these very specifically described persons with mental illness to NICS,” said Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. She said the committee carefully considered evidence related to mental illness and gun violence before making its recommendation.
Although the status of S.31 has yet to be updated, it’s progress through the legislature in Vermont can be followed here.