Gun Rights Advocates Urge Scott To Veto S.55 Ahead Of Governor's Planned Bill Signing

Apr 10, 2018

Opponents of a comprehensive gun control bill are making a last-minute effort to encourage Gov. Phil Scott to veto the legislation.

The bill expands background checks, raises the age to buy a gun to 21, and bans large-capacity magazines and bump stocks.

More from VPR's Vermont Edition  — What's In Vermont's New Gun Control Bill? Your Questions Answered [April 3]

Scott is scheduled to sign the bill, known as S.55, on Wednesday  afternoon. The governor says he understands why some people are upset with his support for the bill — but he still plans to sign it.

"I would urge Governor Scott one more time to honor his campaign promise and veto S.55." — Colchester Rep. Pat Brennan

Colchester Rep. Pat Brennan hopes the governor will reconsider his position.

"I would urge Governor Scott one more time to honor his campaign promise and veto S.55," said Brennan.

More from VPR — Gun Rights Advocates Say Proposed Vt. Legislation Would Infringe On Owners' Rights [March 14]

Scott is also set to sign two other gun bills Wednesday: S.221 and H.422. They allow police officers to temporarily confiscate the guns of an individual that a judge has found poses a threat to themselves or another person.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, thinks these bills will be effective in reducing gun violence, and he noted that they passed with unanimous support in both the Vermont House and the Vermont Senate.

"So I think it's important for Vermonters to recognize where all these groups who ... usually don't even talk to each other, or usually talk all over each other, came together and developed two important bills," Sears said.  

More from VPR — 2 More Gun Bills Head To Scott's Desk, After Unanimous Votes In House And Senate [April 5]

Weather permitting, Scott plans to sign the three bills Wednesday on the steps of the Statehouse.

Meanwhile the political debate over gun control bills at the Statehouse could surface as a key issue in this year's race for governor.

"Quite frankly, there's a whole bunch of people that have been asking me to run for governor. It's not something that I was planning on doing at this point in my life. I'm certainly thinking about it." — Sen. John Rodgers, Essex-Orleans district

Democratic Sen. John Rodgers, who represents the Essex-Orleans district, was a leading opponent of the S.55 gun control bill. Rodgers says he's being encouraged to run against Scott.

"Quite frankly, there's a whole bunch of people that have been asking me to run for governor," Rodgers said. "It's not something that I was planning on doing at this point in my life. I'm certainly thinking about it, but I don't think this — the signing or vetoing of this bill alone — I don't think gets me to that decision. There's much more to take in."   

If he decides to get into the gubernatorial race, Rodgers says he could potentially run as a Democrat, a Republican or an independent. The filing deadline for major party statewide candidates is May 31.