Vermont Passes Gun Safety Bill
Today the Vermont Senate passed S.55, a bill regulating guns, and an important step in improving public safety in our state. Lt. Governor Zuckerman offered the following statement following passage.
"I’m proud to stand with the Vermont Senate, House, and our Governor as we take this important step in improving public safety in Vermont. Over the last two months we have heard from thousands of Vermonters on this issue. In addition to the numerous letters, emails and calls we have received there have been public hearings, press conferences, rallies, and a constant presence in the State House of people on all sides of this issue. I want to thank all Vermonters for participating in our democracy and all legislators for taking the time to listen and reflect on the impact of all legislation that was proposed.
One message we heard over and over was gun control alone will not solve the issue of public safety or protect all who are at risk for violence. I absolutely agree with this and hope we can now start to discuss the underlying causes of violence in our society and work with the same determination to address them. We must look at the role economic, racial, social and environmental injustice play. There is also no doubt the normalization of violence has an impact. We need to invest in our school support staff so that we can have more effective early intervention. We need to have a fact-based conversation and recognize mental health is an issue, but also not stigmatize and blame those with mental health issues. They represent a very small percentage of gun violence perpetrators and are more often victims of violence. We must invest in programs for those who are struggling with addiction and other challenges that ostracize them from society. To do all these things it is imperative that State Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations on the frontlines receive the funding needed to be successful.
In fact, just last night I slept out with approx. 100 folks to raise nearly $300,000 for Spectrum Youth and Family Services. There are similar organizations across the state. The work that these organizations do to help challenged youth get back on their feet is immeasurable. From putting a roof over their heads, to training in financial literacy, social and therapeutic support, job skills training and more, it is these kinds of efforts that also contribute to our community.
There are no easy solutions and I hope all Vermonters will stay engaged and continue to share their ideas and concerns as we work together to ensure the safety, health, and inclusion of all Vermonters.”