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Burlington voters opt to give up gun rights, gut state preemption

Despite VTFSC's efforts to educate the public, a "progressive" Burlington electorate means the state legislature will need to be the ones to reaffirm preemption.
Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs

Three City of Burlington resolutions were passed by voters Tuesday, Vermont’s WPTZ News Channel 5 reported this morning. The measures are now headed to the state legislature, where it will be decided if municipalities will be given the power to override state preemption protections.

Voters chose to allow authorities to seize firearms at domestic investigations (Yes: 5,579 / No: 2,066), ban firearms from establishments that serve liquor (Yes: 5,194 / No: 2,517), and require firearms in the home to be locked up (Yes: 4,351 / No: 2,971) in an election that marks the latest battle in a long campaign being waged between “progressive” Burlington Council members working with Gun Sense Vermont, and the Vermont Federation of Sportmen’s Clubs.

“These proposed gun control ordinances are an attack on our vital Vermont Sportsmen's Bill of Rights. VTFSC said in a release following the disappointing results. “This is law we must defend.

“The three gun control ordinances are not based on sound public policy, and are certainly in contempt of the state and federal constitution,” the group explained. “These ballot issues are the work of politicians playing political shenanigans and nothing more.”

It's premature for disarmament activists to celebrate though, the gun rights advocacy group predicts, citing an entirely different predisposition between the city and the state.

“Their ball, their court, their ref, their rules, their refs, their timekeeper, their scorekeeper and their scoreboard in BTV,” VTFSC observed. “It won't be that way in the state house and our guys will be very motivated.

“BTV city hall knows it has been in a fight,” they elaborated. “It will be a whole different game in the state house.

“The legislators will be able to see what was actually in the proposed gun control ordinances and not just the limited language listed on the ballot,” the rights group continued. “The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs conducted a campaign to make the public aware of what was actually in Burlington's proposed gun control ordinances. This was done to off-set the misinformation about what was really in the proposed gun control resolutions.”

Part of that campaign included a full-page Burlington Free Press ad on Sunday, as well as a series of radio spots.

On another front, VTFSC is still trying to get the city to provide complete access to documents related to the development of the charter changes, a process that’s been dragged out since last September.

It's not the end for the antis, either. Recall that the resolutions that passed were greatly scaled back, and the original plans included a ban on semi-automatic firearms that use personal defense capacity magazines, as well as other schemes admittedly designed to end preemption.

Gun owners nationwide should not dismiss this as a purely local matter -- the tactics involved, using a "home rule" facade to establish a patchwork quilt of impossible to comply with restrictions, is one that gun-banners attempt wherever they can. If they can gain a foothold in places like the Green Mountain State, long known for relatively few infringements on firearms freedoms, and the pioneer locale for "Vermont carry," they will press their advantage wherever they are able. And that includes reversing themselves and using state and federal edicts to erode home rule freedoms when it suits their purposes.


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Despite all those blood-curdling screams coming from those haunting the halls of politics, the true chilling threat is to our rights. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Ghost Guns.”

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