Vermont’s Gun Control Advocates Struggle to Gain Traction

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Gun control advocates rallied at the statehouse on Wednesday, although there’s little evidence the Legislature will consider gun-control bills this year.

Last December’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., may be out of the news, but these advocates want Vermont lawmakers to keep it in mind. They carried signs that read "We Deserve A Vote" and "Support Common Sense Gun Laws."

"This legislation has no reason not to go anywhere," said Ann Braden of Brattleboro who is with Gun Sense Vermont, a group that supports background checks and a ban on high-capacity weapons. "A majority of Vermonters support it. It makes sense. It is common sense and it can save lives. If I got to the next school shooting and I didn’t do anything, I’d be sick to death."

This rally comes a week after six towns in the Upper Valley voted to urge lawmakers to pass gun control measures.

Essex Representative Linda Waite-Simpson is sponsoring a bill that would ban ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds, but the House Judiciary Committee is unlikely to even consider it.

Waite-Simpson said controlling gun violence requires a state-by-state approach. "We can’t wait for our federal government to do something," she said. "They are incredibly dysfunctional."

Waite-Simpson said there needs to be a clear path before leadership can move her bill forward. She pointed to resistance in the state Senate, but Senate President John Campbell is passing the buck back to the House.

"We still have eight weeks to go and I believe if the House gets a bill over that they want to deal with then we can certainly have those discussions," Campbell said. "This is not an issue that’s closed by any means of the imagination."

Advocates said if the state of Vermont can’t do something, then they will look to more cities and towns to pass resolutions.

VPR News: Upper Valley Voters Weigh In On Gun Control

Earlier: Amid Debate, Lawmakers Get Hands-On Look At Guns

NPR: What Will Happen To All The Letters People Sent to Newtown?

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