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Vermont: NRA Takes on Republican Governor “Flip-Flop Phil” Scott Over Latest Gun Laws

Vermont: NRA Takes on Republican Governor “Flip-Flop Phil” Scott Over Latest Gun Laws

“It’s now time to start working to make sure Gov. Scott becomes a full-time stock car driver”

Last month, I blogged about Republican Vermont governor Phil Scott’s complete change in stance on the Second Amendment.  At that time, he had signed a “raft of gun control measures” and explained that his thinking about Americans’ right to bear arms had “changed completely” after the Parkland shooting.

Last week, he signed a brand new “raft” of gun control measures, and in doing so, has provoked the ire of the NRA.

The Burlington Free Press reports:

The National Rifle Association is calling on gun owners to abandon Gov. Phil Scott after he approved a package of gun-related laws this week.

“This governor in Vermont completely gave a one-finger salute to the Constitution and to gun owners,” said Dana Loesch, a national spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, during her NRATV program Thursday.

“He is no friend of firearm owners,” Loesch continued, “and I hope that all firearm owners remember this betrayal the next time he’s up for re-election.”

Scott’s office released an announcement regarding the latest raft of anti-gun legislation:  S.55, S.221 , and H.422.  Each of which he signed into law.

Here’s the official statement:

“Vermont is currently one of the healthiest and safest states in America. However, as tragedies in Florida, Las Vegas, Newtown and elsewhere—as well as the averted plot to shoot up Fair Haven High School—have demonstrated, no state is immune to the risk of extreme violence.

“As Governor, I have a moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens. If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?

“That’s why I put forward an action plan last month with steps to better ensure the safety and well-being of all Vermonters. My proposals included enhancing school safety, identifying and addressing root causes of violence and developing avenues for open conversations about gun safety, while preserving our Constitutional rights.

“I thank the Legislature for responding to my request to act, moving forward on bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

“As I’ve said, I strongly support the second amendment and all Constitutional rights. I support S.55, S.221 and H.422 because I believe these bills uphold these rights, while taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of violence.

“I want to be clear, however, that more must be done to address the underlying causes of violence. We must redouble our efforts to strengthen our mental health care system, continue to combat opiate addiction, be better role models, reduce political polarization and treat all people with dignity and respect, as well as working to ensure every family has the hope that economic opportunity provides. These are essential to reducing violence in our state and our nation.

“It’s now time to work together to strengthen our communities and families – because better regulating guns to reduce violence in our society isn’t the complete answer.”

The NRA responded with withdrawal of support for Scott.

The NRA writes:

Governor Phil Scott took to the steps of the Statehouse Wednesday afternoon to ink his signature on the wildly unpopular S.55. Rather than quietly sign the bill, Scott opted for a full public display to rub salt in the wounds of the law-abiding gun owners and NRA members who donned orange to witness the epic betrayal for themselves. It seems like just yesterday candidate Phil Scott was promising “no new gun laws.” Elected with the support of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen, the Governor has now signed into law the most drastic gun control in the history of the state.

S.55 bans the sale of commonly owned rifle magazines holding more than 10 rounds and handgun magazines accepting more than 15 rounds. The bill also prohibits those under 21 years of age from buying rifles and shotguns as they are currently allowed to do under both federal and state law. In addition S. 55 bans certain firearm accessories and requires mandatory background checks on most private firearm transfers. Of course, none of these bills will truly address school safety or enhance public safety. This bill does one thing, punish law-abiding gun owners in one of the safest states in the country.

Election Day may seem like the distant future, but fortunately Vermont gun owners have long memories. Please make sure all your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, hunting partners and gun club members are registered to vote. It’s now time to start working to make sure Gov. Scott becomes a full-time stock car driver.

A lot of people, including myself, have been scratching their heads, wondering how an A-rated NRA-backed politician can take such a sudden change of heart.

The Hill reports:

Scott said his stances on gun control “changed completely” after the February mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school in which 17 people died. Vermont also averted a school shooting in February after a tip to law enforcement, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Scott says that Parkland influenced his thinking, as did the alleged (ultimately foiled) plan of a Vermont citizen who planned to perpetrate a school shooting that would “exceed the body count from the Virginia Tech shooting.”  This person was arrested before he could carry out his plan, but according to Scott, the non-incident helped reshape his view of our Second Amendment rights.

The Washington Post reports:

Two days after the Parkland shooting, police in Fair Haven, Vt., arrested Jack H. Sawyer for his alleged plot to shoot up Fair Haven Union High School. That morning, Scott said, is when “everything changed” for him.

After police were notified of a threatening Facebook message Sawyer allegedly sent about his alleged plot, they brought him into the station for an interview. According to Vermont Supreme Court documents, Sawyer told police that he wanted to “exceed the body count from the Virginia Tech shooting”— which left 33 dead including the shooter — “and that he had chosen his ammunition accordingly.” He wanted to end the shooting in the school library, “in mimicry of the Columbine shooting,” the court document said.

When police searched his car, they found a shotgun, 17 rounds of ammunition and four books about school shootings, including the Columbine massacre. They found a journal titled, “The Journal of an Active Shooter,” in which Sawyer allegedly wrote about his desire to “commit suicide by homicide.”

. . . . An affidavit describing the allegations against Sawyer landed on Scott’s desk.

“As I processed this information, I was shocked,” he said at the news conference. “Just 24 hours before — even in the aftermath of Parkland — I thought, as the safest state in the nation, Vermont was immune to this type of violence. … Sitting there, I realized, only by the grace of God did we avert a horrific outcome.”

The realization caused him to “do some soul searching.” He had been a gun owner his entire life, he said. He was a hunter and a fisherman, and at home he had a safe full of guns, including the one he got when he was 13. While he was a state senator and lieutenant governor he never felt the need to change the gun laws. He thought the state was somehow “different” from the others, “somewhat insulated from the violence the rest of the world was seeing.”

“But I was wrong. And that’s not always easy to admit,” he said. “I support the Second Amendment, but I had to ask myself, ‘Are we truly doing everything we can to make our kids and communities safer?’ Because if we’re at a point where our kids are afraid to go to school, and parents are afraid to put them on a bus, or police don’t have the tools they need to protect victims of violence, or families can’t step in to prevent a loved one from taking their own life — then who are we?”

Scott acknowledges that “regulating guns to reduce violence in our society isn’t the complete answer.”  Yet he anchors his flip-flop in leftist, gun-grabbing hedging:  “I support the Second Amendment, but . . . .”.

He then also asks “who are we?,” and I think Mark Robinson from North Carolina speaks volumes in answer to that question.

Who, Robinson asks, is representing the law-abiding majority?  Certainly not Vermont governor Flip-Flop Phil Scott.


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I guess he has every right to change his mind.

And Vermont voters have every right to change their minds if he runs for reelection.

    4fun in reply to rinardman. | April 18, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Would have been better if they could have tossed him before he signed.
    The r’s are getting as bad as the d’s.

Vermont Republican. Journalistic impartiality. FBI professionalism. Senate Ethics Committee.

“I want to be clear, however, that more must be done to address the underlying causes of violence. We must redouble our efforts to strengthen our mental health care system, continue to combat opiate addiction, be better role models, reduce political polarization and treat all people with dignity and respect, as well as working to ensure every family has the hope that economic opportunity provides. These are essential to reducing violence in our state and our nation.

That’s nice. And none of it has anything to do with castrating civil rights. So this sentiment is irrelevant to this new gun grab.

casualobserver | April 18, 2018 at 9:31 am

It wasn’t a decree. The bigger question to me is whether the few remaining non-New Yorker Vermonters will start to vote out more in the statehouse he put the bills together.

The problem facing the voters is their choices in any up coming election. When many if not all politicians lie about their true feelings on very difficult subjects, how are the voters ever going to elect the person who keeps their promises? I watched an old 1949 movie last night and the girl in the movie was talking about politicians and said “Every four years, they promise to fix the problems but when they get elected they forget all about their promises”. That was 69 years ago!

I propose a new political party: The NRA Party. Sign me up.

Off topic; Re: WaPo article. What’s the ‘fair use’ policy around here?

Vermont has long been a very libertarian state. The populous has had a ho-hum attitude to firearms possession for decades. A few years ago, the legislature went so far as to preempt the field of ownership, possess and sales of firearms. So, this is a complete 180 by the ENTIRE state government, not just the governor. The question is, why?

It could be that the politicians are reflecting the concerns of their constituency. Doubtful, but possible. They could all be liberals, and closet liberals, who never reflected the values of their constituency. More likely. Or they could have been bought off. Very likely. Look, there is a LLOOOTTT of money behind this recent push to further restrict firearms ownership and possession. A HUGE amount. And, none of it does anything to reduce the chances of violence involving firearms. None of it. Reducing magazine capacity to 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns, would not have affected either the parkland shooting, where the shooter reportedly used 10 round magazines [which was interestingly ignored by the media], or the Virginia Tech shooting, where the shooter used handguns with standard capacity magazines. 15 round capacity. Banning the possession of AR-15 type rifles will not stop shootings as such a low percentage of shooting deaths occur through the use of high capacity rifles.

The Progressives in this country are terrified. And, they are terrified of the middle class. For the last 50 years, our governments have been actively working to reduce the size and power of the middle class. The policies, especially at the federal level, have all been designed to increase the size of the dependent class while whittling down the size of the meddle class. What happened in 2016 was a middle class revolt, albeit a peaceful one. But, it sent the signal that the middle class was growing desperate as it saw its own extinction looming on the horizon. The Progressives have to continue to pursue their goal of dominating this country through the continued expansion of the dependent class. But, they are also terrified that the middle class will be forced to defend itself using violent means. Hence the push to disarm, or at lease restrict the number and type of arms available to the middle class. This is just a continuation of the Progressive assault on the working middle class.

    alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | April 18, 2018 at 10:52 am

    “Money, Money, Money….It’s a Rich Man’s Game” as ABBA sang and in politics selling out the Bill of Rights is BIG MONEY!

    “are terrified. And, they are terrified of the middle class…”

    Don’t know if they’re ‘terrified’ – or they wouldn’t be so brazen in their expression of hatred for us, or their penchant for inflicting violence upon us.

    It’s us who should be terrified of them.

      No, the Progs are terrified of the middle class. The Middle class is simply mad as heck at the Progs.

      You may notice that we haven’t seen Antifa at all since last summer. Why? Because the middle class didn’t fold and slink off. They were ready to stand up and fight back. In Columbia, one of the Antifa goons is spraying an improvised flame thrower at the crowd and a guy in the crowd took a shot at him. The only mistake that the gunman made was he did not yell :Drop the flamethrower” several times, actually hit the guy with one or two rounds and then wait around for the cops. A flame thrower, even one made out of a hair spray can and a lighter, is a deadly weapon. Also, the optics of masked thugs attacking peaceful demonstrators was horribly negative. BLM had similar problems and were shut down by their masters.

      Now, the plan is to make everyone in the middle class appear to be heavily armed misogynistic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic thugs who all wear arm swastika armbands and attend torchlight speeches. And, the Progressives are attempting to use legislatures and the courts to attack the middle class. That is how badly the Progs are losing the war. They are rightfully desperate.

Probably a bit different than what the lady preacher thinks

An honest man would have said that he changed his mind and would act following the next election. Scott has just shot all his voters from an ambush. I guess politicians just can’t be honest.

Henry Hawkins | April 18, 2018 at 12:13 pm

“Scott said his stances on gun control “changed completely” after the February mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school in which 17 people died.”

Apparently Scott was indifferent to all those other school shootings – Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc. Of course, he wasn’t governor yet for those and had his NRA score to protect.

Scott won in 2016 with 52% of the vote, an it seems he’s decided he won’t win reelection without moving leftward. His was a coldly calculated political decision framed as a crisis of conscience for public consumption.

    oldgoat36 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 18, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    That is my point of contention which his about face.

    People change opinions on things all the time if they are rational, have new information on a given subject or issue, or have a personal tie which alters a view. It is what we should do.

    I don’t see a tie that he has, it was also a failure of law enforcement on so many levels, along with the items passed wouldn’t have prevented this. So why the change other than just some pablum he is putting out which is thin sauce.

    People change views because of a catalyst moment. He certainly doesn’t come up to having it, despite it being a terrible event that happened. Either he kept these views hidden and just waited till an event happened that “freed” him to unveil his views, or an outside source motivated him, and as sad as this was, it would seem that legislation toward preventing similar lack of response from law enforcement would have a better deterrent effect than gun laws, and if this is purely emotional driven, it calls his decision making into question.

Paul In Sweden | April 18, 2018 at 12:57 pm

I still own a home and property in Vermont but haven’t lived there in a dozen years(my dad is a widower and is living there keeping an eye on things for me). The gun laws made sense. The only problem I had was that I also had an Apartment in NYC and traveled North America for business. While it was no big deal to grab my Orvis fly rigs, packing my long guns was not. You can’t leave the state without some kind of permit. I know they must have offered them but I didn’t want to deal with it because for me it was not a big deal. Nobody I knew had a permit either.

Two things struck me as peculiar when dealing with other states. Almost twenty years ago sitting in my hotel room either in Boston or somewhere just on the outside of Boston, security knocked on my room door and asked me if I had a gun. This to me seemed out of the blue but I responded I own guns but I do not have any of them with me. Then security asked me if I had a gun in my car. I said no, I do not have a gun in my car. He then queried me a little bit more until he was convinced while explaining to me that he could see boxes of ammo and paper plates with bullet holes which I obviously didn’t think to clear out of my car after I was at the gun range in Vermont. He asked me nicely to conceal the ammo and targets. Now it did not cross my mind then but it has since. You can be arrested for just having ammo in some states. I don’t know if this was the case in Massachusetts then or even now but that is something to keep in mind when traveling.

Now the somewhat bizarre thing that I recall was when I purchased in New Hampshire my 1911 Springfield .45 Long Slide and a butt load of 230gr FMJ ACP. I had done the instant check. No problems, of course, paid more than a pretty penny and when I got my receipt the salesman just looked at me and smiled. Well it was an awkward moment and being a NewYorker I said well this worked out really well I would like to take my gun and go home now please. It was then he told me that he could not give me the gun because I was a Vermont citizen… I was thinking WTF is there some kind of waiting period that was failed to be mentioned. No it was weirder than that. It seems that it has something to do with New Hampshire gun laws BUT because all the salesmen are ATF licensed dealers one of the salesmen would bring the gun across the bridge and meet me at a little unfurnished office they keep on the other side of the river in Vermont. End of business was about four hours away so I asked him what the heck am I suppose to do in the mean time. He then shot back without hesitation well folks usually wait at the bar down the street and walk over to the office at the end of the day to pick up their guns. So… my friend and I drank beer and shot pool for four hours until the gun sales man drove across the bridge to give me my purchase in Vermont. It seemed odd to me. On the other hand purchasing long guns in Massachusetts and going to Vermont was almost a smooth as going through a drive through.

Seems like I might have a bit of work to do when I figure out who I’m voting for in the upcoming elections.

    alaskabob in reply to Paul In Sweden. | April 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Mass. does require permit to possess ammo if I am not mistaken. It is sad that the very people who think themselves the future of the country, immune to archaic religious beliefs and ancient legal concept have a Druid like belief in earth gods, and elements’ shapes drawing good or evil power to the owner.

    In California, even if you own several firearms, the courts have ruled that the waiting period is still needed.

    ATF might have some interest in that cross state lines setup for handgun sales. Since passage of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 it has been illegal for a person not a resident of the state in which the FFL is located to buy a handgun in such other state. If the seller had a separate FFL for the “office” in Vermont, that is where the all of the sale and paperwork should have been accomplished. Guess it was a case of “Yankee Ingenuity” on full display.

    Long guns may be purchased in any state. Since the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 you may buy a long gun in any state in the union where that state’s laws allow residents to buy such firearms.

      Edward in reply to Edward. | April 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Oh, forgot to ask about moving long guns. What state were you speaking of taking long guns and needing a permit to move them out of state? Vermont has no permitting for any firearm AFAIK. NY State does not have a license or permit for long guns, but does have a permit requirement for handgun possession (handgun permits issued outside the City are not recognized by NYC). If you were addressing taking long guns out of NY City, that city is a law unto itself and does not match NY State firearms laws.

    Milhouse in reply to Paul In Sweden. | April 19, 2018 at 6:30 am

    . It was then he told me that he could not give me the gun because I was a Vermont citizen… I was thinking WTF is there some kind of waiting period that was failed to be mentioned. No it was weirder than that. It seems that it has something to do with New Hampshire gun laws

    Not NH law, it’s federal law. You can’t buy a handgun from a licensed dealer outside your home state.

buckeyeminuteman | April 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm

I guess “Live Free or Die” only applies in New Hampshire.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | April 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Can you imagine serving time in a New Hsmpshire prison assigned to punching out license plates by the thousands that all read Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die. Live Free Or Die…..

BierceAmbrose | April 18, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Primary every one of them, then make sure whoever wins the primary wins the election.

If you win the nomination we will get you elected.
If you want the nomination, here’s what we back.
You want the job? Do it our way.

How is it even allowable for each state to have its own version of the US Constitution? How about if Vermont wanted its citizens to register their religious books and obtain a permit to attend a house of worship?

    oldgoat36 in reply to MarkS. | April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    In plain words, it shouldn’t, but because of it being the one right which has opposition, and the argument against it is emotional and tied to “protecting the children”, it doesn’t get challenged. Some of the challenges go unheard because there is never such thing as a slam dunk ruling that can come from the Supreme Court. Especially as it is made up today. I think we can almost guarantee a split vote on a ruling, which only leads to further challenges if the split is narrow.

    The other right, Free Speech, gets challenged all the time by various groups, and seeing how burning the flag was made into free speech, some challenges are just not worth bringing to court as it could create more limitations nationally.

    This is one of the bad effects of a supreme court ruling, in today’s valuation, in that we have been made to believe that the court decision is the last recourse. So much for separate but equal branches of government meant to be a check and balance system.

    Milhouse in reply to MarkS. | April 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

    They can’t have their own versions of the constitution. But so far at least the federal courts say that the RKBA can be subject to reasonable regulations, both state and federal. Exactly what regulations are reasonable is currently being fought out in the courts, and at this point the bad guys are ahead.

Rights and responsibilities. Not [abortion] rites (e.g. Planned Parenthood) and responsibilities. It’s easy for Pro-Choicers to conflate and confuse the two.

ahad haamoratsim | April 18, 2018 at 6:28 pm

“identifying and addressing root causes of violence”
Great. Can we expect him to do something about:
-Kids who grow up without parents,or with ineffective parents.
– Lack of mental health resources.
– Schools’ failure or inability to discipline or exclude violent, disruptive or defiant students, and particularly disastrous programs like Broward county’s PROMISE.
– Inability to commit the small segment of the mentally ill who pose a threat of immediate harm to themselves or others.
– Prosecuting those who try illegally to buy guns.
– Letting violent recidivsts back out on the street.
– Adopting programs like Project Exile.
– Reporters who give school shooters the attention and notoriety they crave.

Better yet, let’s just keep assuming that there’s something about magazine capacity that inspires people to commit violence.

That a governor signed this is a mistake. That a republican governor, who ran against something like this, signed this is unforgivable.