Shumlin: No role for Vermont in gun controlBy DAVE GRAM
The Associated Press | April 26,2013MONTPELIER — For months, Gov. Peter Shumlin has been calling for a “50-state solution” to gun violence, saying Congress needs to pass any new legislation to address firearms possession and that Vermont should not try to go it alone.
A week after the U.S. Senate defeated legislation calling for expanded background checks for some gun buyers, making clear that the nation’s gun laws are likely to remain without major changes for the foreseeable future, Shumlin said Thursday his position has not changed.
“In my view, if you don’t have a 50-state solution, people who should not have guns will buy them where they can get them,” said Shumlin, a Democrat, at his weekly news conference.
Shumlin called recent mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and elsewhere “horrific” but said, “You’re not going to solve it. You’re just doing feel-good (legislation)” when states pass their own gun laws.
Other states have seen movement on the issue since December, when 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Connecticut and New York have passed laws banning sales of some assault weapons, limiting the size of ammunition clips, adding new safeguards against acquisition of firearms by people with serious mental illness, and containing other provisions. Legislation is pending in several other states.
Shumlin, a hunter, argued Thursday, as he has repeatedly since the Newtown shootings, that Vermont is different from other parts of the country in how people use and regard firearms.
Vermonters own guns to “manage our natural resources, hunt and use them for sport,” he said. “If the rest of the nation dealt with guns the way Vermonters do, we wouldn’t be facing the challenge we’re facing.”
Asked if Vermont is somehow immune from the possibility of a mass shooting, Shumlin said, “I’m not going to speculate or get into a discussion of something horrific happening in Vermont. I think that only leads to escalating the environment that we live in in this nation.”
The governor’s answer did not sit well with Bob Williamson, a member of the pro-gun-control group Gun Sense Vermont. “We’re fooling ourselves if we think it can’t happen here,” he said.
Vermont has among the laxest gun laws in the country — Williamson noted it is the only state that does not bar convicted felons from possessing guns — and the state is sometimes cited by law enforcement officials in metropolitan areas like Boston and New York as a source for guns used in crimes there.
Shumlin said those concerns also would not sway him.
“I certainly am not shrugging my shoulders,” the governor said. “What I’m saying is that if all 50 states don’t have the same laws, people who shouldn’t have guns are going to get guns, and that’s just the truth.”MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Teddy Roosevelt makes Americans believe the poor, peace-loving, misunderstood piranha is a vicious, dangerous animal.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Ambrose Bierce on the classifications of homicide.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Yankee announces final day of nuclear power generation in Vermont, storm brings floods back to Chester, Castleton town manager to resign office, chronic offender sentenced to 25 years for sexual assault.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Archaeologists find a leather shoe in a cave in Armenia that predates the Pyramids by more than a thousand years.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1932, President Hoover orders the Army to evict bonus marchers from Anacostia Flats; author Malcolm Lowry born this day, as is Jackie Kennedy and Mike Bloomfield; Stephen Crane on consuming one's own heart.