Gun rights activists said they’re concerned after Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed three major gun reform bills earlier in the week.
“Why are we here?” Colchester resident John Nagle asked a crowd gathered on the Statehouse steps Saturday afternoon. “Because we’re pissed.”
The group was most critical of Bill S.55 that bans bump stocks and high capacity magazines.
“They keep taking a little bit more, a little bit more, compromise, compromise, but where is that getting us?” Nagle said. “We’re getting treated like somebody’s foot mat.”
Nagle said the goal is to change Vermont “back to what it used to be”. He said getting what he calls ‘true Vermonters’ into office will make a difference.
Nagle announced he plans to run and encouraged others to do so. In fact, multiple folks came forward to say they will run for all different levels of state government in hopes of reversing these gun laws.
One Republican candidate for Governor: Keith Stern.
“I am not a gun owner, but those rights and the Constitution belong to me just as much,” Stern said. “This is the year we can change the direction of Vermont.”
As young people have been stepping forward in support of the gun laws on the same steps– other young voices feel they have been silenced.
17-year-old Aliza Wright stepped to the podium. She is a student at North Country Union High School where she said safety precautions have been taken following a deadly shooting in Florida this past February.
“I agree with creating a safer place to learn as I recently have felt a bit of fear with all of the senseless violence that has been occurring,” Wright said. “I think it’s important to recognize though, I’m not afraid of whatever weapon, method or act that may be used with wrongful intent. I’m afraid of the individual doing so.”
Wright said she wants to see mental health be taken more seriously in schools.
“Personally I do not believe there is enough aid given to those who are harassed or bullied,” she said. “Instead their claims are brushed away and I have witnessed that first hand.”
Wright said it’s not a gun problem, but a people problem.
As gun right supporters are critical of Governor Scott, he continues to stand by the decision he made on Wednesday when he signed the bills saying:
“I recognize how hard it is for some to understand my change of heart on gun laws…Let alone come to the same conclusions I’ve reached.”