Three Vermont bills address damage guns do to our country

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont lawmakers are currently considering three gun-safety bills. Having attended a recent hearing in the House chamber addressing the bills, I walked away with the awareness that those who oppose gun control fear that if just one law passes, more will follow, and legislators will continue to erode the Vermont tradition of guns and hunting.

Many opponents cited the Second Amendment - “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” - which was passed in 1799, when muzzle-loaders defined what constituted “arms.”

I did not get the sense that protecting the Constitution was the issue. It was the fear of losing a tradition and encountering legislative control. The complexity of the federal rules may have contributed to this fear.

The three bills simply addressed the damage that guns do to our society. They did not appear to threaten the Vermont tradition, nor were they complex. They were supportive and non-threatening.

My only regret is they did not include a fourth bill, a simple one: Ban all assault weapons.

Many opponents of gun control feel that Vermont is safe and does not need gun control. They compare our numbers to other states. Well, the numbers may be less, but the cost of well-designed legislation is a small price to pay for those who have lost loved ones.

Banning assault rifles will also address the real possibility that we export gun violence to other states. I can buy an AK-47 and then sell it privately to someone from out of state.

How many people have been killed by assault weapons? How many children have been killed by assault weapons?

This is not about hunting and supporting a tradition. It's about a lobbyist supporting an industry at the expense of children. While we wait, children die.

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