Gun-rights supporters protested against three bills expected to be signed by Vermont’s Governor next week.
If signed, one bill would make it easier to take firearms away from someone considered to be at risk of harming themselves or others. Another would allow law enforcement to take guns from people arrested or cited for domestic assault. The third would raise the age to buy a gun to 21, expand background checks and ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines.
Governor Scott said he will sign all three bills. Since February, he has advocated for action on guns to improve school safety.
In response, hundreds of gun-rights supporters stood on the side of Shelburne Road in South Burlington on Saturday afternoon. Including one pre-school teacher, Naomi Snelling.
“Those bills won’t be able to protect us,” she said.
Snelling said she wants to conceal carry in schools to keep kids safe.
“I know how to protect myself and other people and I know the lines of when I need to draw that,” Snelling said.
Other people in attendance said they came out because they feel their rights are being violated. While some chose to carry signs, others open carried AR-15s slung across their chest.
Sheldon Rheaume is a 22-year-old from Essex. He said he decided to open carry to prove a point.
“This isn’t an evil rifle,” he said. “It’s a tool.”
The rally was organized by a Vermonter– Christopher Covey. He said he never thought he would find himself leading this kind of movement. He created ‘Vermont Gun March’ which is a series of rallies to be held throughout the summer. The slogan– ‘Remember in November’.
“To go out and actually vote for politicians who will do right by the Vermont constitution,” Covey said.
He is referring to Article 16 in the Vermont Constitution which is the right to bear arms to defend themselves and the state.
Covey said most Vermont gun owners feel they are misrepresented and misunderstood.
“We’re trying to get people to understand us and understand why we want our right to bear arms,” Covey said.
Covey said gun-rights supporters want to bear arms for hunting, to protect themselves and others and protect against home invasion.
Local 22 & Local 44 has reached out to both the Governor’s office and Gun Sense VT for reaction to the event. We have not yet heard back from either.
Gun Sense VT is a grassroots organization that states its working to keep guns out of the wrong hands.