By Morgan True, VTDigger.org
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Friday, March 13, to pass legislation intended to keep firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and people with a court-identified mental illness.
The bill would prohibit people with convictions for certain violent crimes from owning firearms. It would also require that people with mental illness who are found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others be reported to an FBI database.
Gun Sense Vermont Executive Director Ann Braden said the bill’s passage out of committee was an “historic victory” for any firearms legislation to see this kind of movement despite opposition from the gun lobby.
“It shows that Second Amendment rights, and respect for the 16th Amendment of the Constitution go hand in hand with gun violence prevention,” she said.
Senator Dick Sears, D-Bennington, said he was proud that his committee had reached consensus on a path forward, and that the panel was able to pass the bill on a 5-0 vote.
“Is it perfect? No. Is it everything that I would have done if I had been doing it alone? No. But I’m very proud of my committee that, on a very controversial subject, we were able to come up with a couple of practical solutions that might better protect Vermonters,” Senator Sears said.