Keeping Vermont Safer

Dear Putney Friends Meeting,

Earlier today, Governor Phil Scott signed into law a trio of bills that will help keep Vermont safer. We are very grateful to the Governor and to the legislative leaders who recognized the risk that gun violence poses to Vermont and championed these bills.

 

(photo courtesy of Greg Moschetti)

 

We are also grateful to you and all of our supporters who have shown up time and again over the past five years, marching, petitioning, donating, testifying, and emailing and calling lawmakers again and again. Some of you have done this work and told your stories while reliving your own traumatic histories, and yet you persisted because you understood the cost of staying silent.

Every phone call, every trip to Montpelier, every difficult conversation, and every testimony paid off today.

Thanks to you, Vermont is now a state where…

  • background checks are required for most private gun sales
  • gun buyers must be 21 years old (with some exceptions)
  • bump stocks are banned
  • large-capacity magazines are prohibited
  • law enforcement can temporarily remove guns from the scene of a domestic assault to keep victims safer
  • courts can issue an order to help protect people deemed to be at extreme risk of harming themselves or others by temporarily restricting access to guns

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the conversation began to change when young people organized and demanded to be heard. Today, their voices and the voices of survivors are taking center stage, as they should, and they are changing this movement. We are privileged to work alongside them and we are grateful for the energy and hopefulness that they bring.

While it is true that the passing of these laws came as a result of passion and dedication, it also has come at the unthinkable cost of far too many lives. I have often said that I wish I could stop doing this work, but I simply can’t as long as so many people are still dying from gun violence and so many more are living as survivors.

I hope, after taking a moment to breathe and appreciate the enormity of what has happened, that you will commit to moving forward with us.

Your donation today will affirm that you will not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence. We all still have a part to play, here in Vermont and nationally.

Please make a gift to GunSense Vermont so that we can continue to advocate for gun violence prevention stand by those politicians who fought to pass the bills that were signed today.

Thank you for all that you have done to get us here, and thank you for committing to a more compassionate and peaceful future.

Gratefully,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director

p.s. — As Governor Scott noted in his remarks today, “Knowing that there will always be more work to do, today we chose to try.” We hope that you’ll stand with us as we keep trying–and succeeding–in this difficult and necessary work.
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Town Hall For Our Lives

Dear Friends —

Rep. Peter Welch will be holding a Town Hall meeting specifically on gun violence prevention TOMORROW in Brattleboro. We are glad that he is helping to further the conversation around gun violence prevention, and we hope that you can attend.

Details:

Town Hall For Our Lives
Sat, Apr 7 2018 at 10:00 AM
River Garden, 157 Main St., Brattleboro

For more information on the Town Hall Project, visit their website.

Hoping to see you there,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director, GunSense VT

 

We’ve all been doing some heavy lifting

GunSenseVT
Putney Friends Meeting —

We know we’ve been asking a lot from our supporters these past few weeks. Getting these gun violence prevention bills passed is no mean feat, and we’ve all been doing some heavy lifting.

  • We believe that the final vote on S.55 (background checks) will start TOMORROW, 3/30, at 11:30.

  • We must be there, letting our Senators know that we support their YES vote!

Can you come to the Senate chamber starting at 9:30? Bring a book. Bring a friend. Once you have a seat, take turns spelling each other and enjoy some coffee in the cafeteria.

PLEASE RSVP HERE.

We are so close to passing this bill. We must draw on one another’s energy for this final push.

Thank you for being there,
Clai

http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Sen. Jeanette White showing some resistance to gun legislation

Dear Putney Friends Meeting — GunsenseVT

Thank you for all that you’ve done in support of gun violence prevention, and particularly in support of S.55 (background checks).

The bill is on its way, but we are not there yet.

Sen. Jeanette White is showing some resistance to the changes approved by the House yesterday. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has a lot of influence over what happens with this bill.

Please contact Sen. White today and ask her to approve the changes to S.55 and vote YES.

jwhite@leg.state.vt.us

(802) 387-4379

Or call the State House and leave a message for her at 802-828-2228.

 

With great thanks for your support,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director

Together, we are making a difference

Dear Friends,GunsenseVT
Together, we are making a difference. Gun violence prevention is a top priority in the state capital right now and this historic shift is being driven by the voices of Vermonters calling for change.  
 
Governor Phil Scott took a courageous step when, in response to a school school threat in Fair Haven, VT, he changed his position and called for immediate passage of gun violence prevention reforms. He needs to hear your voice of support, now. 
 
Please call his switchboard, (802)-828-3333, to leave a message thanking him for his leadership and urging him to keep it up.
 
The gun lobby wants the Governor to back down. Don’t let them drown the majority of Vermonters’ voices out.
 
Please call the Governor’s message line today at (802)-828-3333.

Clai Lasher-Sommers

Executive Director
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Time to Act

Dear Putney Friends Meeting —

Students_2018.png           Speakers_2018.png

This past week was one for the record books in the Vermont legislature. From the start of the week, when more than 200 GunSense VT supporters rallied on the steps of the State House, to the end of the week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to allow S. 221 (Extreme Risk Protection Order) to come before the Senate for a vote, the State House was buzzing with activity around gun violence prevention.

Dozens of middle and high school students spoke out powerfully about the fear that they live with and demanded that lawmakers and Governor Scott take steps to help reduce gun violence.

Legislators, and particularly the Senate Judiciary Committee, worked nearly around the clock in some cases to craft meaningful legislation.

The result is that we have the first opportunity in years to pass legislation that will truly help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Both bills; S.221 (extreme risk protection order) and H221 (removing weapons from a person arrested or cited for domestic assault) passed through the Judiciary Committee this week and are moving to the Senate floor for vote on Wednesday.  Bill S.6 (universal background checks) is being brought to the Senate floor for debate as an amendment.

This week please call and email your Senators (Link to Senate Contact Info.) and ask them to pass Senate bill 221, house bill 422 and Universal Background checks. THESE EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS WORK. We hear from legislators, staffers, and lobbyists that your effort and energy are driving the change that we are seeing.  When they reach the House we will ask you to reach out to your Representatives.

We also ask you to please take a moment to thank SJC Chairman Dick Sears for working diligently on S. 221 and making it a strong and meaningful piece of legislation. We are also grateful to Governor Phil Scott for acknowledging that any conversation around public safety must include a conversation about guns and who should own them. This constitutes a significant shift in his position, a rare thing to see in political leaders today.

Finally, we ask again for your financial support. The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action has activated their members in Vermont. They are saying that “most of these bills are being pushed by large out-of-state gun control groups who are trying to create a solution which simply does not exist in Vermont.”  This is simply not true!  We are a grass-roots organization of Vermonters who want to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  We are asking for your donations so we can fight back!

Gratefully,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director

Elissa Pine, GunSenseVT
Board President
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

If ever there were a time to show up for gun violence prevention in Vermont, this is it.

PUBLIC HEARING, JANUARY 30, 2018

5:30 PM, VERMONT STATE HOUSE

THREE GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION BILLS NEED YOUR SUPPORT
NOW IS THE TIME FOR GUN SENSE IN VERMONT. PLEDGE TO SHOW UP!

Change is coming! The 2018 session of the Vermont Legislature opened last week, and we are excited to see THREE separate bills proposing common-sense measures to prevent gun violence in Vermont (see details below).

Things are moving fast, and we must respond quickly and in great numbers to see these bills move forward.

We are mobilizing to turn out in force, and we need YOU there.

It is time to stand up, make our voices heard, and demand that politicians take action.

Click here to PLEDGE TO BE THERE ON JANUARY 30.

 

HEARING DETAILS

GunsenseVT

January 30, 2018
5:30 p.m.
Vermont State House
115 State St., Montpelier

GETTING THERE

We are chartering buses from Burlington, Brattleboro, and White River Junction.

For the BURLINGTON BUS: email sharon@gunsensevt.org

For the BRATTLEBORO BUS: email elissa@gunsensevt.org

For the WHITE RIVER JUNCTION BUS: email kathleen@gunsensevt.org

If you NEED a ride or can OFFER a ride, please email elissa@gunsensevt.org.

BEING THERE

We will make more information available regarding arrival times and meeting places as it becomes available.

We are not asking people to wear any specific colors or identifying clothing. Instead, we will provide green (gun violence prevention) and purple (domestic violence prevention) ribbons, as well as buttons.

We are still looking for people to TESTIFY, but it is equally important that we have as many supporters as possible in the audience. Simply being there will send a powerful message. If you want to testify by giving a brief (2 minute max.) statement, please email clai@gunsensevt.org.

 

THE BILLS

Background checks
S.6:  This bill proposes to require that a background check be conducted on the proposed transferee before a firearm may be transferred unless the transfer is between immediate family members, by or to a law enforcement agency, or by or to a law enforcement officer or member of the U.S. Armed Forces acting within the course of his or her official duties.

Remove weapons from person cited for domestic assault
H.
422: This bill proposes to require a law enforcement officer to confiscate a dangerous or deadly weapon from a person who is arrested or cited for domestic assault if the weapon is (1) in the immediate possession or control of the person being arrested or cited; (2) in plain view of the officer; or (3) discovered during a consensual search.This has been passed by the House and will go to the Senate.

Extreme Risk Protection Order
S.221: This bill proposes to establish a procedure for a law enforcement officer to obtain an extreme risk protection order. The order would prohibit a person from possessing a firearm for up to one year if the Family Division of the Superior Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a significant danger of causing injury to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or by having a firearm within the person’s custody or control.

 

If ever there were a time to show up for gun violence prevention in Vermont, this is it.

We ask you to do whatever you can to get yourself (and a few friends) to the State House on January 30.
Together we can do this.

 


GUNSENSEVT: WORKING TOGETHER
FOR GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION

GunSense Vermont is a growing coalition of concerned citizens–gun owners, non gun owners, Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, Independents, and more–who understand that there is no other threat to public safety in the United States that looms as large as gun violence. GunSense Vermont advocates for universal background check legislation and other measures that will keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Community Event

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Brattleboro, VT:  On Monday, January 15th at 5:30 there will be a celebration in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St. in Brattleboro.  The service will include and film short and readings from Dr. King, an update from state representative Becca Balint regarding initiatives being taken around the state and in the legislature, spirituals by local musicians and a community choir and end with the traditional lighting of a candle by everyone in attendance.  Singers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to come to the church at 4:30 to rehearse songs for the service.

This event is sponsored by the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Leadership Alliance and is a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages, faiths, races and ethnicities to come together to remember the work of Dr King,  to celebrate all that unites us and to learn about local community organizations working against racism. Admission is free, but a good will donation will be taken with proceeds shared between the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity and the Root Social Justice Center.

A community gathering will follow the celebration on the lower level of the church. The Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, the Root Social Justice Center, the NAACP of Southern Vermont and Black Lives Matter Vermont will all have information and make short presentations on how people can be involved locally to work against racism.

For more information about these events please contact Guilford Community Church, U.C.C. at (802) 257-2776.