State News

House passes suicide prevention bill H.230 to increase gun safety

The House on Thursday, March 23, passed the suicide prevention bill, H. 230, an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide. The legislation addresses the alarming increase in suicide rates in Vermont by creating mechanisms to provide a period of time and space from firearms for individuals experiencing suicidal impulses. The bill requires locked gun storage to prevent firearms from being accessed by children, creates a 72-hour purchase waiting period, and allows family and household members to petition the court for temporary gun removal under the state’s “red flag” laws.

“I am so proud of the work that the House Health Care and Judiciary Committees undertook to get this life-saving legislation passed today,” said Speaker Krowinski. “While such legislation cannot change the past, and it won’t save all Vermonters in the future, I know this bill will make a difference and prevent Vermonters in crisis from having quick access to the lethal means that could end their life. We need to build on this legislation, reduce mental health stigma, and continue to support our family, friends, and communities in moments of crisis.”

“In 2021, 142 Vermonters took their lives. That’s 20.3 suicides for every 100,000 people, which is the highest number and rate of suicide deaths in state history — 90% of all gun deaths in our state are suicides,” Rep. Alyssa Black said. “We cannot completely eliminate suicide in Vermont, but we must do better. We can make sure fewer Vermonters die due to suicide, and we can make sure fewer families and friends are left wondering why their loved ones leave this world too soon. That’s what this legislation does; it takes steps to mitigate access to a firearm during a personal crisis and saves lives.”

“The suicide prevention bill provides meaningful measures to reduce the incidence of firearm violence in Vermont, particularly related to the use of this means of attempted suicide that is almost always lethal. In addition, there is strong support for the constitutionality of the provisions,” said the Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary, Rep. Martin LaLonde. “This bill is a solution that we should implement now. It will save lives while preserving Vermonter’s right to keep and bear arms.” 

Governor Scott has maintained that he does not believe Vermont needs further gun-related bills. He signed a series of gun-safety bills in 2018, much to the consternation of gun advocates.

Following today’s vote, the bill will move to the Senate for further consideration. If enacted, Vermont will join a growing number of states that have implemented comprehensive suicide prevention plans.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call or text 988 for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

One comment on “House passes suicide prevention bill H.230 to increase gun safety

  1. My son died of Fentanyl poisoning as have many others. What are the legislators doing about it? NOTHING. Now they want us to believe they are keeping people from committing suicide by purchasing firearms just so they can promote their unconstitutional gun control agenda.

    Kurt Schlichter: “You know if the Chinese could buy guns they wouldn’t be welded in their apartments. Because we can we aren’t”.

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