Gun control opponents pack Vermont Statehouse ahead of vote

  • Gun control opponents wearing hunter orange pack the gallery in the Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 27, in Montpelier, Vt. The House is set to debate Tuesday afternoon a measure that would raise the legal age for gun purchases, expand background checks and ban high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices known as “bump stocks.” Opponents say the legislation is unconstitutional and won’t enhance school safety. AP PHOTO

Associated Press
Published: 3/27/2018 1:36:02 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Scores of gun control opponents clad in orange hunting vests packed the Vermont Statehouse on Tuesday as the House prepared to debate a package of gun restrictions that was given preliminary approval last week.

The opponents argue the measure being considered by the House that would raise the legal age for gun purchases, expand background checks for private gun sales and ban high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices known as “bump stocks, are unconstitutional and would do nothing to protect school children.

“We need to keep our children safe,” said Hardwick Police Chief Aaron Cochran, who was at the Statehouse on Tuesday in uniform representing the group Vermont Law Enforcement Against Gun Control. “We need to focus, refocus, on the safety of our children in the schools.”

The demonstration by gun control opponents comes three days after an estimated 2,500 students and supporters held a rally outside the Statehouse in support of gun control measures.

The House is expected to begin debate mid-afternoon Tuesday on a measure that was given preliminary approval on Friday. If approved, the measure would have to be reconciled with a version of the bill that was first passed by the Senate.

Separately, Vermont lawmakers are expected to give final approval this week to legislation that would make it easier to take guns from suicidal people and perpetrators of domestic violence.

While the national debate about gun ownership restrictions was given a boost by the shooting last month at a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17, the debate was spurred by what officials describe as a near-miss school shooting at the Fair Haven Union High School. In that case, a friend of the alleged plotter told police and he was arrested.

The case prompted Republican Gov. Phil Scott to call for gun restrictions.




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