Package of gun restrictions set to become law in Vermont


Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt.

A package of gun restrictions is on track to become law in Vermont after the state Senate on Friday approved raising the legal age for gun purchases, expanding background checks for private gun sales and banning high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices known as bump stocks.

The measure, which the House approved this week and Republican Gov. Phil Scott has said he will sign, reflects a remarkable turnaround for a state that has long opposed gun control measures.

Scott acknowledged that many Vermonters would be disappointed by the vote and by his support for provisions that he opposed as recently as two months ago.

“I share it. I know why they are disappointed,” Scott said. “But I think at the end of the day, they’ll soon learn that what we have proposed, what’s being passed at this time, doesn’t intrude upon the Second Amendment. It doesn’t take away guns, and I believe that we will get accustomed to the new normal, which is trying to address this underlying violence that we are seeing across the nation.”

The turning point in this state came one day after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people: A Vermont teenager was arrested on charges he was planning a shooting at the Fair Haven Union High School, which he once attended. Vermont police said tragedy was averted only because a friend of the teenager alerted authorities.

In one day, Scott, who had previously said he did not favor any gun restrictions, changed his mind and urged lawmakers to act.

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