MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Senate passed a historic gun reform bill Friday which includes raising the gun purchasing age to 21 and expanded background checks. After nearly two hours of emotional debate on senate floor, it voted 17-13 in favor of the bill.
The house passed its version earlier this week which included restrictions on high-capacity magazines, ten rounds for longs guns and 15 rounds for handguns. It also bans bump stocks in Vermont.
Controversy surrounding the magazine cap portion of the bill continued right up until the final vote. Limiting rounds will only apply to new purchases, but opponents say a cap will not improve public or school safety and would be difficult to enforce.
"It doesn't help one bit because people who are going to shoot people are criminals, it only effects law abiding citizens,” said Sen. John Rodgers, (D) Essex-Orleans.
"Our efforts would have been much better directed at identifying threats, enhancing security in our schools, improving our mental health system and enforcing what is already on the books," added Sen. Randy Brock, (R) Franklin District.
The bill will now lands on Governor Phil Scott’s desk. The governor told reporters Friday he intends on signing it. The republican had a change of heart on gun reform after a Vermont teen was arrested and accused of plotting a shooting at Fair Haven Union High School.
"What is being passed at this point in time doesn't intrude upon the second amendment, it doesn't take away their guns and I believe that we will get accustom to the new normal which is trying to address this underlying violence that we are seeing across the nation," said Scott.
It could be several days before the governor actually signs the bill, pending a review by legislative counsel.
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