Vermont Bearhound Association and Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association's Position on H.83 of the 2011-2012 Legislative SessionThe recent return of the Vermont Legislature has resulted in the introduction of H.83, a bill that requires serious opposition by the Vermont shooting and hunting community.H.83, named as "An Act Relating to the Negligent Storage of a Firearm" (CAP - or Child Access Protection) is a mandatory firearm storage bill. The bill incorrectly blames the recent tragic suicides of Vermont high school students on the gun owning community of the state, and as opposed to addressing the causes of youth suicide: This bill attempts to address a symptom of the much larger problem.The bill has the following problems:Some advocates of this bill have proclaimed that existing Vermont Law does not have any provisions for addressing youth who wish to harm themselves or commit suicide with firearms. This is not true. The following VT Statutes do specifically prohibit unfettered access to firearms by Vermont's youth:o 13 VSA § 4004. Possession of a Dangerous or Deadly Weapon in a School Bus in a School Building or on School Propertyo 13 VSA § 4007. Furnishing Firearms to Childreno 13 VSA § 4008. Possession of Firearms by Childreno 16 VSA § 1166. Possession of a Firearm at School While the loss of life of anyone, and certainly a youth, is horribly tragic, the intent to try and insure that suicides do not occur amongst our youth by attempting to legislatively prevent access by a youth who is at risk to a single inanimate object that may be used as a tool of suicide is at best unrealistic, and is at worst completely unenforceable. No parent or guardian would knowingly leave loaded firearms just lying about in the first place, and they certainly would not do this if there was even the remotest thought that their child might be a suicide risk. The methods of suicide are endless, and singling out one method as being any worse than another is ludicrous. In recent court cases such as Heller and MacDonald, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the right of self defense is an unalienable individual right. While certainly care must be taken in storing any firearm, attempting to impose this legislative restriction can only be seen as unconstitutional, as it defeats our ability to defend our loved ones and our property should the unthinkable happen.In summary, the best course of action with the general issue of Youth Suicide is directly addressing the problem, not a single symptom. Education is needed for our youth to better cope with the oftentimes depressing realities of society, education is needed for parents and educators to more quickly spot youth at risk, and programs need to be put into place that will help our youth at risk to work through their issues.
To Voice your opposition to this bill, call the Sergeant of Arms at (802) 322-5616.Ask to leave a message for Chair Deen and Speaker Smith: "NO to H.83".  

Enter supporting content here