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Opinion: Supporters of gun control bill find it tough to testify

A lot of the people at the hearing on Senate Bill 31 last Tuesday at the Statehouse seemed too happy from the start — and yes, I’m talking mostly about the “Orange People.”
Too happy, I thought, because this hearing was about the risks Vermonters can face from dangerous people with guns, whatever color they choose to wear.
Me — I was remembering how my friend David was shot in the back and killed. About the boys I knew who shot and killed themselves out of loneliness and despair, and the one who had a gun hidden in the woods for when life got too hard.
About women and kids held at gunpoint by husbands and boyfriends — not just once, and probably not for the last time.
About their running away to a “safe house” like in a spy movie but no — these are real moms, real kids and real dangers.
These were the people I brought to the Statehouse — ones who couldn’t be there themselves because they were too scared to show their faces or were dead. They didn’t wear green, they didn’t laugh, and they couldn’t be counted by reporters.
They counted to me, though — and I felt so sad missing the dead ones and so scared for the living.
I planned to talk about them there, but — no time left.
Other people did tell about people they knew who had been killed by guns or were threatened themselves. You could see how hard it was; they cried, choked, whispered, shook. People who have been shot dead stay dead and the pain just doesn’t go away, nor do memories of your fear or the terror on your children’s faces.
The happy people mainly still seemed happy, though: some laughed, hooted, smirked, sneered — even yelled — at these brave people who told their stories.
You could see why more people who wanted to speak up for S.31 did not come. Who wants to be hooted at when telling about finding her mother in a pool of blood? Or her 16-year-old son shot dead with blood all over the couch? Or her husband threatening to kill her and knowing he still — and probably always will — have guns to do it with?
And for me — that’s the big deal about guns.
Some people use guns to bully others, and sometimes the bullies gets violent and terrorize, maim or kill their victims.
When somebody does that — uses their gun to threaten or cause violence — I don’t want them to be able to buy a gun in Vermont anymore. And that is the purpose of S.31.
Anna Rose Benson
Weybridge

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