A day after the Legislature passed a sweeping gun control bill, supporters of gun rights held a rally on the Statehouse steps to call the legislation unenforceable and unconstitutional.
The event drew more than a thousand people, some no doubt drawn by the promise of a free, 30-round magazine donated by MAGPUL, a firearms accessories company that shipped them overnight from Wyoming.
The bill bans the high-capacity magazines, requires background checks for private sales, bans bump stocks, and raises the legal age to 21 for most gun purchases.
Gov. Phil Scott said Friday he would sign the bill. But Ira resident Justin Turco carried a sign urging the governor to just say no. Turco says he voted for Scott in the past, but would not do so again.
“Putting Gov. Scott in office was very much an issue of putting someone in there who would protect the 2nd Amendment in Vermont,” he said.
Turco said he doesn’t own a firearm that would hold a 30-round magazine. He said he came to Montpelier solely to defend the constitution.
“I'm here for the 2nd Amendment, that's why I'm here,” he said. “And I wouldn't mind having one of those guns; it would be nice having in the gun cabinet.”
Chris Bradley, the president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Club, said the event was organized in less than a day after the Legislature passed the gun control legislation.
“These weren’t well thought out bills. The Senate tried their best to fix them, and unfortunately it just wasn’t going to happen,” he said.
Bradley said the legislation will be challenged in court.
He credited the large turnout to social media.
“And frankly, this thing went viral," he said. "In fact, I believe, Facebook stopped boosting our posts because it was going viral.”
Rob Curtis of Williston is executive editor of Recoil, which covers the firearms industry and lifestyle. He helped organize the giveaway of 1,200 of the soon-to-be-banned, high-capacity magazines.
He said his goal was to get as many here before they were illegal under Vermont law. He called the overnight air shipment from Wyoming the “Green Mountain Airlift” to deliver “400 pounds of freedom” before the devices are banned.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” he said. “I honestly thought on Thursday night I was going to get all these magazines just sitting in my garage and wondering what the hell I was going to with them all, if all these people didn’t come out in support.”