Local News, State News

Hundreds turn out for gun rights rally: 1,200 magazine rounds given away to gun activists

By Anne Galloway, VTDigger

Hundreds of gun activists swarmed the State House lawn Saturday afternoon, March 31, to protest the passage of S.55, legislation that puts sweeping new restrictions on gun use in Vermont. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has promised to sign the bill into law.

During the rally, participants formed two lines on the sidewalk in front of the State House on State Street sidewalk in Montpelier to pick up 30-round gun magazines, provided for free by Magpul, a manufacturer of firearm accessories.

The event was coordinated by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and Rob Curtis, executive editor of RECOIL, a “firearm lifestyle magazine” based in California. Curtis, who lives in Williston, contacted Magpul for the donation of 1,200 magazine rounds. All of the magazines were given away on Saturday.

One of the new restrictions in the bill passed by both the House and Senate last week is a ban on long gun magazines with more than 10 rounds and pistol magazines with more than 15 rounds.

John Helfant, a sergeant with the Vermont State Police who attended the rally as a private citizen, said Scott will hurt his re-election bid if he signs the bill into law. He also believes the Legislature has created laws that are “unenforceable and will really do nothing for safety for Vermonters.”

He says the magazine cap is unconstitutional and he believes the universal background check law will not prevent people from selling guns in the privacy of their own homes. The age limit can also be circumvented, he said, because it doesn’t apply to possession.

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