Governor Peter Shumlin says he’ll support a federal ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons. And he thinks an NRA plan to place armed guards in all schools is a bad idea.
In taking this position, Shumlin joins the three members of the state’s congressional delegation in backing a new ban on the future sale of semi-automatic assault weapons.
Shumlin says he’s a lifelong hunter but he sees no reason why hunters need to use these weapons.
"I love to hunt. I’m as committed to firearms as any sportsman or woman in Vermont. But I have yet to ever see anyone hunting in Vermont’s woods with an assault weapon," said Shumlin. "We’ve got to draw the line as a nation between what makes sense for sportspeople and how we can get weapons of war out of the hands of people who are mentally ill or deranged and crazy and out there trying to kill innocent people."
The National Rifle Association has proposed placing armed guards in all schools as one way to deter future violence but Shumlin says that’s a very bad idea.
"If we’re at a point in Vermont or any other state where we have to turn our schools, our institutions of learning where democracy gets its roots by giving every single kid access to a good education," said Shumlin, "and we turn those into fortresses, there’s something wrong with what we are doing."
Some Vermont lawmakers are set to introduce a state assault weapon ban when the Legislature comes back to Montpelier in January. But Shumlin says that’s not the right approach.
"Now I personally believe that the only way you solve this problem is exactly what the president and the vice president have proposed, which is a federal law," said Shumlin. "You can’t do this state by state with one state having different regulations than another. It makes sense to have a national 50-state solution to this crisis."
Senator Patrick Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee and he’s announced that his panel will hold hearings next month on the president’s plan to reduce gun violence.