I don’t know about you all, but I am outraged with the proposed firearms and magazine ban that Vermont State Senator Philip Baruth has introduced. Following suit with the draconian measures recently implemented by our neighbors to the west, this legislation, while slightly less restrictive, would impose a ban on semi-automatic “assault weapons” and restrict magazine capacities to no more than 10 rounds.
My question is this: HOW ON EARTH can anyone look at Vermont’s violent crime statistics (3rd lowest in the nation) and come to the conclusion that we need STRICTER gun control laws? Our crime rates are so low, in part, thanks to our strong support of 2nd Amendment rights, giving would-be criminals a reason to second guess themselves for fear that their potential victims might be equipped to defend themselves. So how will a ban on arbitrarily designated “assault weapons” serve to improve our currently admirable track record? How will limiting magazine capacities to 10 rounds aid in deterring violent crime?
The fact of the matter is, if someone wanted to carry out a Sandy Hook type of attack, they would not be deterred by this legislation. For one, they would certainly still be able to obtain the firearms and magazines proposed for ban if they so desired. Criminals, by definition, do not follow the law. Secondly, if acquiring such firearms proved too daunting, there would be plenty of firearms not criminalized by this legislation that operate identically to those that would be banned, differing only in aesthetics. And finally, criminalizing a 30-round banana clip would prove to be completely ineffective, as it would take no great feat of intelligence to figure out that three 10-round magazines would be just as efficient and can be switched out in a matter of seconds. Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of gun crimes committed in our country are perpetrated using weapons that would not be in any way affected by this legislation. A criminal armed with several semi-automatic hand guns is just as lethal as a criminal armed with a so-called “assault weapon” or any other semi-automatic weapon.
This legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate and terrible tragedy, as well as the political equivalent at trying to keep up with the Jones’. Our state carries a deep-rooted tradition of celebrating 2nd Amendment rights and, as such, some of the most well-educated civilian gun owners and operators in the nation. We understand the power and responsibility that comes with utilizing any firearm, and we instill these values in our children and our society. We hunt. We target shoot. We avidly collect. And, we defend ourselves and our families when/if the need arises.
I, for one, would not submit to such tyrannical legislation, even is it were to pass, and believe that many other Vermonters would feel the same. I strongly believe that this legislation will not garner enough support to be enacted, but why take the chance? We should all contact our elected representatives and make our voices heard, and encourage everyone that we know to do the same. If now is not the time to stand and be heard, then that time shall surely never come.