Lawmakers Go For Gun Suppressors | Off Message
Pin It
Favorite

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lawmakers Go For Gun Suppressors

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 10:34 PM

click to enlarge Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Olreans), right, talks to Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) about a measure to legalize the use of gun suppressors Friday on the Senate floor. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Olreans), right, talks to Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) about a measure to legalize the use of gun suppressors Friday on the Senate floor.
The final days of the legislative session focus mostly on the biggest bills: budget and taxes. But in between, lawmakers jockey for their pet bills.

Friday, Rep. Patrick Brennan (R-Colchester) spent a fair bit of time buttonholing senators, trying to find new life for a bill that would legalize the use of gun suppressors. The devices — also known as silencers — can prevent hearing damage and make peace with shooting-range neighbors, he argued to any senator who would listen. 

The measure had been on an economic development bill that the House passed, but was jettisoned in that bill's conference committee. Brennan wasn't giving up.

Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans) added the provision to a hunting bill, H.5, on the Senate floor Friday morning. 

Senate Judiciary Committee chair Dick Sears (D-Bennington) objected. His committee had spent weeks agonizing over a gun-control bill and the notion of legalizing gun suppressors never came up, he said.

"I'm worried that we're making decisions at the last minute," Sears said. "We’ve had, since the Al Capone days, a law against silencers."

By Friday afternoon, Sears relented after he succeeded in limiting the use of suppressors to shooting ranges. The Senate easily passed the measure. 

Down the hall in the House, Brennan's fellow Republicans were so eager to get the House on board that they offered one of their few late-session bargaining chips. They declared that if the House also approved H.5, they would go along with suspending House rules to allow passage of a renewable energy bill that Democrats strongly support. The slow-moving energy bill was at risk of not making it through if legislators adjourn for the year Saturday. 

Rep. David Deen (D-Westminster) asked House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown) if he would go along with passing H.5 as the two passed in the Statehouse hall late Friday afternoon. "I have no idea what H.5 is and I don't care," said Smith, who was mired in stalled tax talks with the governor.

A short time later, both the gun bill and the energy bill passed and were on their way to the governor. The two pieces of legislation were completely unrelated, except that they were both in the same place at the same time. 


Tags: , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It
Favorite

About The Author

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck

Bio:
Terri Hallenbeck is a Seven Days staff writer covering politics, the Legislature and state issues.

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

More on Statehouse

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation