With support from Republican governor Phil Scott, the Vermont house and senate have passed a major gun control bill, which is the first of three gun control bills that Scott plans to sign. Senate Bill 55 increases the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, requires that people selling a firearm privately to a friend conduct a NICS federal background check before doing so, and it will seemingly set the first ever limit on magazine capacities in the state’s history. The bill also makes the possession of a bump stock illegal, punishable by up to one year in prison.

The seemingly confused governor commented Friday on his reasons for supporting the bill: 

“Vermont is currently one of the healthiest and safest states in America.”

It is so safe because everyone has the freedom to protect themselves with firearms!

However, as tragedies in Florida, Las Vegas, Newtown and elsewhere—as well as the averted plot to shoot up Fair Haven High School—have demonstrated, no state is immune to the risk of extreme violence.

People are much less immune to the risk of dying from car accidents or heart disease or cancer. Why not legislate those? You’d think that if something is killing over 600,000 Americans each year, there’s a lot of room for improvement in that area. 

“As Governor, I have a moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens. If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?

If you are at the point where you are petrified of an event that technically happens zero times per year in Vermont, then you are fools. You are fools who fall for leftist propaganda that convinced you to be more afraid of the 47th leading cause of death in your state than the other 46 much more common causes of death.

That’s why I put forward an action plan last month with steps to better ensure the safety and well-being of all Vermonters. My proposals included enhancing school safety, identifying and addressing root causes of violence and developing avenues for open conversations about gun safety, while preserving our Constitutional rights.

Mr. Governor, please reread the 2nd amendment. It clearly says that it’s impossible to ‘preserve our constitutional rights’ while restricting anything related to self defense. Your quote is the equivalent to saying that you will breathe better by removing both of your lungs. 

I thank the Legislature for responding to my request to act, moving forward on bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

The second amendment says that everyone should have guns: “the people…..shall not be infringed”. It doesn’t say “…the people who are determined to be fit by authoritarian politicians.” It says ‘the people’. George Mason clarifies: “I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” Did Mason say that only those who are over 21 years old should be able to possess firearms, and that they should be limited to low capacity magazines and that the government could determine them to be unfit to own a firearm?

As I’ve said, I strongly support the second amendment and all Constitutional rights. I support S.55, S.221 and H.422 because I believe these bills uphold these rights, while taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of violence.”

You are wrong. You are violating the 2nd amendment and the natural rights to property and self defense. You are a tyrant.

Scott seems confused; he acknowledges that VT has historically been among the safest places in the world to live, he knows that they have few restrictions on firearms, yet he says that gun control is now a critical necessity for Vermont. If there were school shootings every day, or if 1,500 students were killed by gunmen each year in Vermont, Scott’s statement might be reasonable. According to the data, however, that is not the case. In researching school shootings in Vermont, a state with extremely free gun laws – and extremely few homicides – the best source I could find was ballotpedia. According to this article, which records all school shootings in the US since 1990, Vermont has only ever had one such occurrence. According to the CBS article about the case, it actually began as a domestic dispute inside of a house. The murderer killed a person in their home, then went to the school where he shot five others, killing one of them. Zero students were killed.

Despite Vermont politicians manufacturing fear of school shootings, the evidence shows that zero students have been killed in school shootings in Vermont (at least in the past 28 years). One teacher was killed by a gunmen who ran from a home into a school. But even one death is a tragedy. Are there other tragedies in Vermont that might be cause for greater concern, though? According to the Center for Disease Control, firearms were responsible for 16 homicides in Vermont during 2015. To me, that seems like 16 homicides too many. But, again, adjacent to that figure are other figures that highlight much more likely killers than firearm homicide. The CDC found that firearms deaths were not among the top ten leading causes of death. Cause of death number 9, however, was suicide. Vermont Public Radio studied firearms deaths from 2011-2016. They found that the overwhelming majority of deaths associated with firearms were actually suicides. VPR found that “there were 47 homicides and 373 suicides involving firearms in Vermont from 2011 through 2016”. According to VPR, 114 veterans committed suicide with firearms in that 5 years span. In 2015, 103 people killed themselves in Vermont. Why focus on the 16 who were killed by gunmen before tackling the much more common threats? Why is Governor Scott and the Vermont legislature more focused on taking away their citizens’ rights than they are on stopping the massive suicide issue Vermonters are facing, especially among the demographic that served Vermont and the US in the military?

The low murder rates are most likely due to Vermont having no requirement to have a permit to possess or carry any gun in any fashion and with any magazine capacity. They have historically been ranked anywhere from #1 to #5 among the US states with the fewest restrictions on firearms. After the FBI 2015 statistics for violent crime were released, the Burlington Free Press boasted that Vermont was the safest state in the nation. And it was. It turns out that criminals are hesitant to attack those who may likely be carrying a firearm for self defense. Those who really seek to commit serious crimes tend to travel to areas of the US where people are much less likely to carry a firearm due to strict local gun control. That is why Chicago and DC have so much violent crime. They have very strict gun control, making it relatively impossible for normal citizens to obtain a pistol for self defense. If you have family in NYC or Chicago, I bet that they don’t own a pistol – because they can’t own a pistol legally, which gives the attacker the advantage.

As Vermont residents’ access to firearms goes away, and as government control of individual ownership of firearms tightens, expect homicide rates to rise correspondingly.