Gun Control Changes to Burlington City Charter Ready to be Proposed

Gun Control Changes to Burlington City Charter Ready to be Proposed

Since 1865, the city's charter has never mentioned guns.
BURLINGTON - Since 1865, the city's charter has never mentioned guns.

That might change.

City Councilor Norman Blais (D, Ward 6) says after the Sandy Hook tragedy last December, he agreed with President Obama's call for dialogue and discussion about guns.

Blais says when the council realized national and state gun control laws were not forthcoming, they wanted to change Burlington law.

"The charter is silent with respect to gun control issues," Blais said.

Blais is also a member of the Charter Change Committee. The committee will be proposing the gun control changes to the full city council on September 9.

The proposals include an assault weapons ban, a permit requirement to carry a concealed weapon, a limit on high-capacity magazines, police ability to seize weapons during a domestic dispute, and a ban on weapons in bars.

Blais says Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling brought the idea of banning weapons in bars to his attention.

"Weapons and alcohol don't mix," said Chief Schirling.

The process of changing a city charter is a long one. If the city council approve the changes this fall, it will go to the voters at the town hall in March. If approved, the state legislature will have the final say.

"Decisions to change the charter have to be done with time and reflection," Blais said.
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