Vermont’s largest group of gun rights advocates took a firm stand Friday against legislation they say would only serve to add a burden to law-abiding gun owners and wouldn’t prevent crime.
In fact, according to Chris Bradley, the president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, guns prevent murder.
“When I see households, by census data, that have 43 percent firearms in them, yet we have the lowest murder rate in the nation, I think there’s a pretty strong correlation there,” he said. “It’s self-evident.”
The federation was responding to legislation in the works in Montpelier that would close what’s known as the “private sale loophole.” Currently under federal law, it is legal for someone to sell a gun to another person without running a background check on that person.
All federally licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks for all sales.
“As an example of such a transaction that will likely be prohibited,” Bradley said, “might be me selling a firearm to a lifelong friend that I grew up with, a man I have known all my life.”
Under the proposed legislation, such a sale would not be prohibited, but would require a federal background check. Bradley said he would never sell a gun to someone he suspected would not be eligible to own a firearm.
“For me, this bill attempts to stop me from doing something I would never do anyway,” he said. “In a nutshell, a private sale [law] attempts to regulate criminal activity by intruding only on those people who will actually obey the law.”
Bradley’s group also condemned supporters of the proposed regulation.
“While it is fine to support a concept, it does not appear to me to be very logical to support a bill when there is no ability to read the damn thing,” he said.
The pro-gun group, however, did come out uniformly in opposition to the idea of expanding background checks, though the bill has not been formally introduced at the Statehouse.