Vermont Libertarian Party supports right of self defense everywhere in Vermont


News Release — Vermont Libertarian Party
January 25, 2016

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Vermont Libertarian Party
PO Box 5475
Burlington VT 05402-5475

View full release here:

The Vermont Libertarian Party takes the position that H.566, H.567, and H.568 deprive the residents of Burlington and people visiting Burlington of the right to self defense, in violation of V.S.A. §2291 and §2295, and that they should be voted down by the legislature.

For example: under H.568, one cannot even lock one’s firearm in the trunk of one’s car in the parking lot of a Burlington restaurant while you eat there, if they also serve alcohol. That is clearly regulating possession of firearms. While parents should always be careful to not allow access to firearms by children not old enough to understand safe handling, H.566’s requirements for “safe storage” of firearms will prevent effective self defense by adults in their own homes in Burlington.

These proposed charter changes are not only an attack on the human right to self defense while in Burlington, they are also an attack on Vermont’s preemption statute, and therefore, upon the right to self defense anywhere in Vermont. According to Burlington City Attorney Eileen Blackwood, “Why this is somewhat unusual is because right now there is a state law that says that no city charter can do this,” and “We are asking the Legislature to essentially overturn that law.” (as quoted Nov 18, 2013 by WPTZ, in “Gun Measures move forward”)

The Vermont Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights (V.S.A. § 2295) is a preemption statute protecting the rights of Vermonters, providing that municipalities may not regulate the possession of firearms, only the state can. It was written to ensure that the right of self defense guaranteed by Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution applies equally, everywhere in Vermont. The prohibition against local control of possession of firearms is reiterated in V.S.A. § 2291, which enumerates powers for municipalities.

According to years of ATF and FBI crime statistics, violent crime in Vermont is among the very lowest in the nation, even though Vermont has one of the highest firearm ownership rates in the nation. This means we’ve been doing something right with our gun laws. We should concentrate on the root causes of gun violence in the state, like drug war laws that encourage criminal control of a significant segment of commerce, and mental health
issues, which can lead Vermonters to commit suicide by firearm.

Disarming law-abiding people anywhere is not the answer. The Vermont Libertarian Party stands with Gun Owners of Vermont and other Vermont groups strongly opposing H.566, H.567, and 568

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