27 March 2018

For Immediate Release

March 27, 2018


Contact: Katherine Levasseur

Office of the Speaker of the House

(802) 828-2245




Montpelier, VT - Today, the Vermont House passed landmark gun violence protection measures in Senate bill 55 on a vote of 89 to 54, with tri-partisan support. This bill incorporates a number of gun safety measures, including:

  • Expanding background check requirements to unlicensed (or private) firearm sales, including a provision that provides immunity to Federal Firearm Licensees that provide background check services in unlicensed (private) sales;
  • Requiring purchasers of long guns to be 21 years or older, unless they have taken a hunter safety course (which is already required to obtain a hunting license), are a veteran, are a law enforcement official, or are in the military. This puts long guns on par with handguns. Under federal law one must be at least 21 to purchase handguns.
  • Banning the purchase and possession of bump stocks effective October 1, 2018; and
  • Banning the purchase of high-capacity magazines while excluding antiques, replicas and long guns with lever or bolt action. Possession of high-capacity magazines that were purchased before the enactment date is grandfathered.

“This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Representative Martin LaLonde. “Banning bump stock attachments that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons is common sense. Automatic weapons are already prohibited and it’s time that we act to ensure these attachments are as well. Additionally, banning the purchase of high-capacity magazines is a check on the number of rounds a person can fire. When we talk about keeping our schools and communities safe, this provision is the most important step this bill takes. As a hunter, I see this as common sense gun safety legislation.”

Representative Maxine Grad, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee said, “S.55 ensures that guns remain in the hands of those who should have them by decreasing the opportunities to obtain firearms for those who intend to harm themselves or others.”

“Our communities can’t be safe if we allow guns to be sold to felons or the dangerously mentally ill,” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “That’s why current law requires that no gun can be sold by a licensed gun dealer without a criminal background check. Currently, hundreds of guns are sold by unlicensed sellers at gun shows and through the internet with no background check. This bill makes a simple change in the law in order to cover all gun sales. The few minutes it takes to complete a computerized check will save lives. Support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with protecting Vermonters and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We’ve heard the call for action from Vermonters over the last several weeks and took a strong step forward today with the passage of this bill. We look forward to working with the Senate and with the Governor as this bill moves to the final stages of passage.”




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