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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rally Will Promote Universal Background Checks on Gun Sales

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM

click to enlarge DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
A group of Vermont politicians is setting the stage to push anew for legislation that would mandate universal background checks on gun purchases.

They’re planning to rally August 4 on the steps of the Statehouse, said Senate Majority Leader Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden). He said that if he’s reelected this fall, he will introduce a bill next year to require universal background checks.

Democratic candidates for governor — Sue Minter, Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith — have said they’ll attend, Baruth said. So have the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor: Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden), Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) and House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown), according to Baruth.

The rally is an indication that the debate over gun control — long considered off-limits in hunting-friendly Vermont — is shifting after a run of mass shootings across the country. Any legislation will likely face heavy opposition, however, and the issue is likely to come up in this year’s elections.

click to enlarge Sen. Phil Baruth - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Phil Baruth
Last year, gun control advocates dropped plans to seek universal background checks after running into opposition.

Three years ago, Baruth withdrew legislation to ban assault-style weapons amid intense opposition. Now, he said, he thinks the state is ready to require background checks on private gun sales.

“It’s time for this very modest step,” he said.

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About The Author

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck was a Seven Days staff writer covering politics, the Legislature and state issues from 2014 to 2017.

More by Terri Hallenbeck

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