April 11, 2018 — Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Legislature for passing gun safety legislation that will help keep Vermont families, schools and communities safer from gun violence. The bills signed by Governor Scott signal a change in attitude in a state which had virtually zero gun laws, high gun ownership and ranked 41st in gun law strength, according to the Giffords Law Center.
S. 55, is a critical piece of legislation which includes measures to require background checks on most gun sales, raise the minimum age for purchasing long guns, limit ammunition magazine capacity, and ban certain devices which would allow firearms to fire at the same rate as automatic weapons. The other two life-saving bills are S. 221 which establishes an extreme risk protective order to temporarily disarm individuals who pose a heightened danger to themselves or others, and H. 422 which will help protect women and families by giving law enforcement the authority to remove firearms from domestic abusers.
“Governor Scott is showing tremendous leadership by signing this important package of gun safety measures that will keep Vermont families, schools and communities safer from gun violence,” said Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. “Over the past several months, students, teachers, parents, gun owners, and community leaders made their calls for action loud and clear. They’ve demanded solutions to save lives from gun violence and lawmakers in Vermont answered. Today proves that when people stand together and raise their voices it has the power to create meaningful change. I’m glad that the people of Vermont spoke up and that leaders in the state had the courage to act.”
Giffords has also been working with Vermont leaders and advocates, including gun owners from across the state who support stronger gun laws.
“As a gun owner in Vermont, I applaud the legislature and Governor Scott for passing these common sense gun safety measures,” said Tom Galinat, Vermont farmer and gun owner. “These gun safety measures will in no way infringe on my rights as a law-abiding and responsible gun owner and will make our communities and children safer.”
“Today Vermont took a huge step forward in keeping our communities safe from gun violence,” said Clai Lasher-Sommers, Executive Director, GunSense VT. “Vermont residents and voters thank Governor Scott for signing life-saving bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. With these new laws, Vermont has shown real courage with these actions to prevent gun deaths. GunSense VT thanks the Vermont Legislature and Governor Scott for their bipartisan support.”
Background on Vermont Gun Laws
- In 2018, Vermont received an “F” ranking by the Giffords Law Center in its Annual Gun Law Scorecard.
- In 2016, 78 people died from gunshot wounds in Vermont. Vermont had the 20th highest rate of crime gun exports among the states in 2016– meaning that crime guns originally sold in Vermont were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 20th highest rate among the states.
- Vermont does not currently require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed parties, and does not require any waiting period to prevent purchasers from immediately obtaining firearms.
- Vermont also does not prohibit individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders from acquiring or possessing firearms, and does not require the removal or surrender of firearms when a domestic violence protective order is issued.
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Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer