Long known for comparatively lenient gun laws and a demonstrably low homicide rate attributable to firearm abuse, moves are nonetheless underway by extreme anti-gun elements to undermine Vermont’s state preemption for firearms laws and enact draconian new edicts. Challenging them, a statewide gun rights group on Thursday demanded documents related to official proceedings and correspondences by filing of a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Our statutory informational request was submitted to the City of Burlington to gather information in the process of challenging the Burlington attack on the state preemption law, commonly known as the Vermont Sportsmen's Bill of Rights,” Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs President Clint Gray explained to Gun Rights Examiner.
“The Charter Change Committee, which was asked to draft a gun control resolution earlier this year, will present the [Burlington] council with five gun control measures on Oct. 21,” VTDigger reported on September 10. “The measures would ban assault weapons, restrict those with domestic violence convictions from obtaining a firearm, require a permitting process for concealed weapons, ban firearms from establishments that serve alcohol, and require that firearms be kept ‘under lock and key,’ separate from another locked location where ammunition is kept.”
Standing in the way of that is a section of the state’s Title 24, which declares in part “Except as otherwise provided by law, no town, city or incorporated village, by ordinance, resolution or other enactment, shall directly regulate hunting, fishing and trapping or the possession, ownership, transportation, transfer, sale, purchase, carrying, licensing or registration of traps, firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or ammunition.”
“The resolution will be on the ballot in March before the Legislature votes on a required charter change to allow the city to adopt its own policy on gun control,” the VTDigger report explained. “Legislative approval will not likely occur until 2015.”
Troubling to gun rights proponents, in addition to such unmasked grasping at their rights, is documentation that official actions are being scheduled to accommodate anti-gunners at the exclusion of gun owners. VTFSC posted an email on their Facebook page from council member Rachel Siegel, chair of the Charter Change Committee, who told her council colleagues:
At the urging of the GunSense Vermont organizers, we are putting the Charter Change resolutions on hold until early November. That will give them more time for the statewide strategies they are working on. It also means there's plenty of time for questions and suggestions.
“This is exactly why the legislature took control of the issues now protected by the Vermont Sportsmen's Bill of Rights out of the hands of municipalities,” VTFSC explained. “The very same law Burlington would slice and dice. If Burlington is successful, municipalities all over the state will have ‘Open Season’ political games with your hunting/shooting, fishing, trapping, guns, ranges, and ammo, currently protected not-PC rights.”
That’s part of a well-documented strategy anti-gun groups follow to make up for the disparity in true demand they have in comparison to grassroots gun rights groups. Personal zealotry crusade organizations like Brattleboro-based GunSense Vermont and city councils dominated by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (of which Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger is a proud member) leverage urban “progressivism” to impose their will on all, only screaming about “home rule” when it looks like the restrictions they enforce will not prevail against a broader liberation.
In fact, the outside special interest touch is noted in June 17 Charter Change Committee minutes, which references correspondence sent to Governor Peter Shumlin, “includes language from Gun Free VT” and reveals Councilor Tom Ayres asked “if it includes Bloomberg’s model that Weinberger presented.”
That the Burlington Council, comprised overwhelmingly of Progressives and Democrats, would enthusiastically embrace the gutting of Vermont firearms freedoms is self-evident. That they would use every procedural means at their disposal to do so, and rely on most gun owners being uninformed and uninvolved, accounts for much of the success anti-gunners everywhere have traditionally relied on, and that Michael Bloomberg is counting on now. In states where he has not (yet) established lobbying “action groups,” he is relying on such collaborators to impose his will.
That’s why the alertness and responsive capabilities of gun rights leaders taking point against threats are critical, and why they must then rely on support from rank and file gun owners.
Requesting “Anything relating to drafts, proposals, strategies, advantages, disadvantages, or any other consideration for or against any form of possible local or state regulation or restriction of or change in statutes relating in any way to firearms or other weapons (including but not limited to ordinance, charter change, statutory enactment or revision) within the City of Burlington or any other part of Vermont or all of Vermont,” VTFSC has warned the council of its “duty to preserve records with the scope of this request.
"You are to immediately commence identification and preservation of records covered by this request, and then continue such preservation until further written notice from the Requestor,” the FOIA document instructed.
As they will be providing leadership in the action to preserve rights and defend against the attack being spearheaded in Burlington, interested and affected gun owners need to bookmark the group’s website and News Updates blog, keep up with the conversation on the group’s Facebook page, and importantly, acting as force multipliers, meaning taking the initiative to share information with other gun owners and answering calls for support with responsive actions and assistance.
What the Obama administration can’t get through legislation they’re determined to get just by issuing orders. The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the magazine hits the stands. Click here to read "Executive Actions.”
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