Editorial: Minter takes early stand on gun legislation in Vermont
Give Democrat gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter credit for being out-front pushing sensible gun-control legislation and helping to change the conversation among candidates running for governor.
Minter has called for stronger gun-safety legislation in Vermont since the mass shootings in Charlotte, N.C. a year ago. She has advocated for more thorough background checks for those purchasing a gun, and most recently for a ban on selling assault weapons for non-military purposes.
For those Vermonters who reject any proposed restrictions by saying the state does not have a problem of gun-related violence, Minter points out that Vermont ranks eighth highest per capital in domestic violence with guns. “For me, the biggest threat is behind closed doors,” she said of the numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries in domestic assault cases. Most are crimes of passion and without easy access to gun purchases, much violence — and lives wrecked — could be prevented.
Minter was a lone voice on the topic early on and, she says, she took some grief for it from many Vermonters. “But you have to stand up for gun safety,” she says matter-of-factly, adding that it should not mean a significant infringement on responsible gun owners. Other candidates have since followed, she said, adding that both Democratic gubernatorial candidates — Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith — have joined her in advocating for stricter background checks and, recently, for a ban on assault weapons.
The issue is as important in Vermont as it is in the nation at large. Expanded background checks do not affect the ability of any law-abiding citizen to buy a gun.
On the flipside, abuse of the system is rampant. Stories around the country have broadcast how easy it is to buy a gun, including an assault weapon, for not a lot of money and almost no hassle. In many cases, it’s far easier to buy an AK-47 than it is to register to vote — and that is madness.
Minter has led the way in Vermont, and it should be a question Republican challengers Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman tackle as well.
This question for Vermonters is clear: Can the state implement gun laws that protect the public, while also respecting the Second Amendment?
Dozens of states have. Connecticut and New York ban the sale or possession of many semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines — measures this conservative U.S. Supreme Court have found are fully consistent with Second Amendment rights. The nation’s highest court, in fact, has rejected more than 70 challenges to gun regulations in recent years.
Implementing stricter background checks that provide a reasonable amount of time to be thorough, should be a given if it does not prevent eligible citizens the right to bear arms. The conundrum is how much time is too little or too much for the background check? A reasonable guideline should be based on how long it takes to do a legitimate search to determine whether the person seeking the weapon is dangerous to society. Residents may have to sacrifice a day or two longer wait, but if the gain is keeping high-powered weapons out of the hands of known terrorists, or others who may have ill intent, surely that is worth the small sacrifice for those asked to wait a matter of days.
The recommended restrictions, after all, have no intent to stop gun purchases by responsible citizens; but rather to provide law enforcement with the tools to prevent guns from landing in the hands of those intent on killing others.
The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)
BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)
See when your favorite high school team is competing in the fall sports playoffs.