June 17, 2019

Vermont: Governor Scott Vetoes Bill to Establish Waiting Period on Handgun Sales

Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States

On June 10, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Phil Scott vetoed S. 169, a bill that would have established a mandatory 24-hour waiting period on all handgun sales in the state.

The Governor instead has called upon the Legislature to work alongside him to address the underlying causes of violence and suicide, including strengthening Vermont’s mental health system, combatting addiction, and providing the citizens of the state with economic opportunity.

S. 169 was the result of action by the Senate Committee on Judiciary following hearings on several gun bills earlier in the session. One such bill was S. 22, a far-reaching and highly restrictive bill that would have mandated a 48-hour waiting period on all firearms purchases in the state, as well as “safe storage.”  Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Senior Director, Northeastern States, Brent Miller submitted testimony against S. 22 when it was heard in Committee. Miller’s argument centered on two primary points: that the waiting period provision would have likely resulted in a decrease in firearms sales, which would have had unintended consequences of decreasing conservation dollars available to state fish and wildlife agencies through the American System of Conservation Funding; and, that the broad language related to the safe storage provisions would have placed many hunters, who simply had to stop for gas while on a hunting trip, on the wrong side of the law and facing up to a year imprisonment.

CSF praises Gov. Scott for his support of our time-honored sporting traditions, as demonstrated through this veto, as well as the many members of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus who worked diligently throughout the session to ensure that the concerns of Vermont’s sportsmen and women were heard throughout the legislative process.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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