On October 29, 2015

Seeking true public, grassroots conversation about guns in Vermont

Dear Editor,

On Oct. 20, 2015, two dozen members of Gun Owners of Vermont went to an advertised “fall regional meeting” of Gun Sense Vermont (GSV) which was supposed to be a public forum.

We did this because we wanted to have a conversation with the officers and members of GSV and the general public in attendance.We were planning on providing them with actual FBI and ATF statistics and listening to their thoughts. We wanted to show that we were sincere in our effort to discuss the matter in a peaceful and respectful manner. During the committee hearings at the State House last session, we were extremely polite to Ann Braden and all the people in attendance.

We were disappointed to find out that the meeting location was suddenly changed just mere hours before the advertised event. The conversation that we have repeatedly offered since 2013 still stands. Gun Sense has refused every offer for any dialog. We would be overjoyed to meet with GSV, and they are welcome at any of our meetings or functions around the state. These questions need to be asked:

Why will they not meet with us?

Why are they unable to prove the statements about the good and honest people of Vermont?

Why are their meetings secret when they say “they want to have a conversation?”

How can they still call themselves a Vermont “grassroots” organization when their paid directors have ties to national organizations?

How can they still call themselves a Vermont “grassroots” organization when their paid directors each receive over $40,000 in compensation?

How can they still call themselves a Vermont “grassroots” organization when they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists, candidate donations, advertising, and salaries?

Why did Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety release a nationwide barrage of anti-Vermont advertising, in perfect time for GSV’s “press conference” for universal background check legislation? It is clear to everyone that Gun Sense is NOT an independent, grassroots organization, because if they were, they would not be having secret meetings and changing locations when the public wants to attend. Please attend our upcoming public forum on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at the Rutland Free Library from 12-4 p.m. We are cordially inviting any GSV board member to speak at this forum.  We have nothing to hide.

President Ed Cutler, Gun Owners of Vermont

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