Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill that would have made Vermont the 10th state in the country to establish a 24-hour waiting period to buy handguns.
His office sent out a news release Monday night explaining his decision.
“Last year, I called for and signed a package of historic gun safety reforms because I believe they make schools, communities, families and individuals safer, while upholding Vermonters’ constitutional rights.”
“Over the last year, among other gun safety measures, we have established:
· Mandatory background check requirements;
· Extreme risk protection orders, giving families tools to remove guns from those who may harm themselves or others;
· The ability of law enforcement to remove firearms from those accused of domestic violence; and
· Requirements increasing the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21.
“With these measures in place, we must now prioritize strategies that address the underlying causes of violence and suicide. I do not believe S.169 addresses these areas.
“Moving forward, I ask the Legislature to work with me to strengthen our mental health system, reduce adverse childhood experiences, combat addiction and provide every Vermonter with hope and economic opportunity,” Gov. Scott concluded.
Those in favor of the bill said the legislation would reduce suicide rates.
“Governor Scott’s veto is massively disappointing,” Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe said in a statement Monday night.
“The Governor’s veto letter suggests we need to look to long-term strategies to rebuild our mental health system, or to address childhood poverty, or to tackle our addiction crisis. These strategies have scarcely registered in the Governor’s proposed budgets each year, and in any event will do little to nothing to prevent gun deaths in 2019 or 2020,” Ashe said.
The Executive Director of GunSense Vermont also put out a statement.
“Just days after we learned that gun violence, especially suicide, is on the rise in Vermont, Governor Scott chose to stand up for the corporate gun lobby, turning his back on a lifesaving public safety measure. The data is clear: a short waiting period to buy a handgun can save lives when people are overcome by dangerous impulses. This common sense measure is supported by the vast majority of Vermonters with 80% of voters supporting the handgun purchase waiting period.* Today, Governor Scott put the corporate gun lobby before the wishes and the well-being of Vermonters,” Clai Lasher-Sommers wrote.