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How Vermont's NRA A-rated Governor was "shocked" to support new gun laws

The Republican Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, speaks to the public before signing arms in Montpelier, Vt., On April 1

1th. (Cheryl Senter / AP)

Surrounded by demonstrators knocking him in front of the Vermont State House Wednesday, Governor Phil Scott (R) signed the most restrictive arms control measures in the country's history.

While some wanted to thank him, Scott knew that many of those who voted for him, in part on his A-grade rating from the NRA, were "disappointed and angry" with him, he said.

Some shouted "Traitors!" And "BS!" When he wanted to assure them that the laws he wanted to sign were not intentional "Others take your weapons period." Others told him that he had lost their voices and swung signs with "One Term Gov" and "Not My Governor".

But it was clear from his remarks that Scott had already thought about it all. Two months ago, after the police thwarted the plans of an alleged school shooter to storm a local high school and kill as many as possible, Scott said he could not sit back and do nothing. He had already decided.

"I know these discussions were difficult, emotional and complex – barriers that often lead to inactivity," he told the split crowd. "But this is not the time to do what is easy, it is time to do the right thing."

The three laws that Scott signed on Wednesday prohibit the possession and sale of bumpers and Magazines containing more than 10 rounds for a long gun and 15 for a handgun. 1.

To provide background checks on private firearms, the new laws require that all weapons be purchased and sold through a licensed arms dealer, with sales between immediate family members are excluded. Buyers must be at least 21 years old unless they are undergoing a Vermont Hunter Safety course or are in the military or law enforcement. Under certain circumstances, the laws also allow the police to confiscate a gun under certain circumstances if the person poses a threat.

Pursuant to Bill 422, law enforcement may temporarily seize a gun from someone who has just been arrested for domestic violence. A judge would decide whether to return the weapon to the accused at trial on the next working day.

The judge may decide that possession of a weapon should not be a condition for the release of the accused or that the gun should be taken by the defendant under other abuse control orders. The Senate bill 221 allows the state to apply for an "extreme protection order" that prohibits a person from owning a firearm for up to a year "when a court finds that the person" poses a significant threat to himself or herself Violating Other Persons

The violation of these laws could lead to imprisonment between six months and one year or fines ranging from $ 500 to $ 1,000.

The passage of the Vermont gun laws marks a significant course change in a state in which the bipartisan Resistance to arms control has thwarted even the most modest weapons restriction proposals for years, and Vermont still does not ask that law-abiding gun owners have permission to wear weapons in public During his campaign for Governor 2016, Scott himself said: "I do not think we are at this point more weapons Besch need adjustments in Vermont. And that he did not support background checks on private weapon sales.

His turnaround on gun rights happened quite quickly, in the days after the Parkland School on February 14, when 17 people died.

Weapons lawyer and Bill supporters hold signs as Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott signs weapons bills in Montpelier, Vt., On April 11. (Cheryl Senter / AP)

Two days after shooting, the police in Fair Haven, Vt., Arrested Jack H. Sawyer for his alleged act to shoot Fair Haven Union High School. That morning, Scott said, "everything changed" for him.

After the police were notified of a threatening Facebook message allegedly sent by Sawyer for his alleged conspiracy, they took him to the station for an interview. According to Vermont Supreme Court documents, Sawyer told the police that he "wanted to exceed the death toll from the Virginia Tech shootings – leaving 33 dead, including the protector -" and that he had chosen his ammunition accordingly. " When the police raided his car, they found a shotgun, 17 rounds of ammunition, and four school shootings, including the Columbine Massacre. Englisch: emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 263 & lang = en. They found a magazine called "The Journal of an Active Shooter," in which Sawyer allegedly wrote about his desire to "commit suicide by killing."

He has not pleaded guilty to the murder charges against him.

"The day will come much sooner than previously thought," he wrote on November 29, according to the documents. "I realized how important it is to be able to kill the children I know now, compared to those who have to wait a year to get them all gone, I aim to kill as many as possible and whoever I can. "

An affidavit describing the allegations against Sawyer landed on Scott's desk.

"When I processed this information, I was shocked," he told the press conference. "Only 24 hours earlier – even to Parkland – I thought that Vermont, as the safest state in the nation, was immune to this kind of violence … As I sat there, I realized that we were only at the mercy of God could avert a terrible result. "

The realization led him to" seek some souls. " He had been a gun owner all his life, he said. He was a hunter and a fisherman and at home he had a safe full of weapons, including the ones he got when he was thirteen. While he was a state senator and vice-governor, he never felt the need to change the gun laws. He somehow considered the state "different" from the others, "somewhat isolated from the violence that the rest of the world saw."

"But I was wrong, and that's not always easy to admit," he said. "I support the second amendment, but I had to ask myself," Are we really doing everything we can to make our children and communities safer? "Because when we are at a point where our children are afraid to go to school, and parents are afraid to put them on a bus, or the police do not have the tools they need to be victims of violence protect or families can not intervene to prevent a loved one from taking their own lives – who are we then? "

Vermont is the second state to Florida to hand over a weapons reform package as part of the Parkland shootings Has. New Jersey is ready to become the third. One of the proposed measures is that people who apply for weapons have a "legitimate need".

Scott emphasized that the reforms are not just about weapons: as part of an action plan He joined in February and also pledged to create a Force Prevention Task Force through executive orders. He worked with the legislature to provide $ 5 million for school security grants, and called on legislators to "upgrade our mental health system"

recognize how difficult it is for some to understand my change of mind in our weapons laws because, to come to the same conclusions that I have reached, "he concluded the split lot." I understand that I may lose the support for the decision to sign these bills today. These are consequences that I am willing to live with.

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