Vermont House Working to Keep our Schools & Communities Safe

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Apr 2, 2018 No Comments ›› maxinegrad

school hallway with lockersWe should have the freedom to be safe in our homes, our schools and at work, without the constant threat of gun violence hanging over our heads. We must act now to protect families and communities from gun violence. Vermont is not immune to the devastation of gun violence; we cannot wait for another tragedy like the mass shooting in Florida to act. We know the policies that work; it’s on us to implement them and save lives.

The House is taking a comprehensive approach to keep our schools and communities safe by:

1) Enacting Gun Safety Measures

  • Expands background check requirements to unlicensed (or private) firearm sales, including a provision that provides immunity to Federal Firearm Licensees that provide background check services in unlicensed (private) sales.
  • Requires purchasers of long guns to be 21 years or older, unless they have taken a hunter safety course (which is already required to obtain a hunting license), are a veteran, are a law enforcement official, or are in the military. This puts long guns on par with handguns. Under federal law one must be at least 21 to purchase handguns.
  • Bans the purchase and possession of bump stocks effective October 1, 2018.
  • Bans the purchase of high-capacity magazines while excluding antiques, replicas and long guns with lever or bolt action. Possession of high-capacity magazines that were purchased before the enactment date is grandfathered.
  • Empowers a State’s Attorney or the Attorney General’s office to petition a court to issue an order temporarily restricting a person’s access to guns when they pose a danger to self or others, known as “red flag” legislation.
  • Provides protection to a victim of domestic assault by allowing a law enforcement officer, in certain circumstances, to remove a firearm from the scene if the removal is necessary for the protection of the officer, the victim, or another person.

2) Expanding Access to Mental Health & Substance Abuse Programs

  • The budget provides $844,000 to serve people experiencing helplessness and homelessness.
  • The budget Increases resources in four regions of the state to help direct people to resources.
  • The budget expands a peer warm line to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

3) Strengthening school safety infrastructure

  • In the Capital bill we make five million dollars available to schools for security updates.

In the works:

  • House Education is reviewing school safety. House & Senate Education held a public hearing in March to hear from students about what we can to help keep them safe.
  • House Human Services is vetting legislation addressing childhood trauma and long term prevention measures (ACES).