- The Vermont Legislature on Friday passed a bill that would impose a 72-hour waiting period for all firearm purchases, which lawmakers claim will help stem suicides and impulsive violent acts.
- The bill would also expand the reach of the state’s “red flag” laws, formally referred to as extreme risk protection orders, and creates a criminal charge for negligent firearms storage.
- Republican Gov. Phil Scott “has significant concerns about the constitutionality” of the waiting period, a point often echoed by opponents of the legislation.
The Vermont Legislature on Friday passed a bill that requires a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of guns and includes other provisions aimed at reducing suicides and community violence.
The Vermont House concurred with a Senate amendment by a vote of 106 to 34. But Republican Gov. Phil Scott “has significant concerns about the constitutionality of the waiting period provision,” his spokesman Jason Maulucci said Friday.
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The legislation also creates a crime of negligent firearms storage and expands the state’s extreme risk protection orders so that a state’s attorney, the attorney general’s office or a family or household member may ask a court to prohibit a person from purchasing, possessing or receiving a dangerous weapon.
Supporters say it’s time to take action against gun violence and the rate of suicide in Vermont, which is higher than the national rate.
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Opponents say the bill violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
According to the bill, more than 700 Vermonters died of gunshots from 2011 to 2020 and 88% of those deaths were suicides. In 2021, the state’s suicide rate was 20.3 per 100,000 people, compared to a national rate of 14 per 100,000, the bill states. Children in a home with a firearm are more than four times more likely to die by suicide than those in a home without one, the legislature states.
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