Montpelier, VT – Vermont’s lawmakers made strides on gun-safety legislation during the 2023 legislative session, passing three bills that now await action from Gov. Phil Scott, including a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases.

But Scott, who signed a slate of gun-safety bills in 2018, angering gun-rights supporters, says the current legislation is “problematic.”

“I personally believe we don’t need to make any direct, dramatic changes to our gun laws at this point,” said Scott.

Vermont’s lawmakers prioritized gun reform in 2023, after the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen paved the way for an easing of gun-control measures across the country.

“What we’re trying to do now is build case law back up in light of the Bruen decision so that we protect things like safe storage, waiting periods, and not allowing domestic abusers to have guns,” said State Senator Phil Baruth (D).

Lawmakers also passed related bills taking aim at paramilitary training camps, straw purchases and safe storage.

“We’ve exempted them from the 72-hour waiting period only until July of 2024. In the interim, we’re going to work out a way so that an individual can show that they are already a firearm owner with some sort of a firearm identification,” said State Representative Martin Lalonde (D).

Scott has not yet committed to a veto of the bills. But lawmakers say they are confident they have the votes to override the governor. Rep. Conor Casey, the executive director of Gunsense Vermont, says action is necessary, noting that Vermont has the highest rate of gun deaths in New England.

“We need to do it now, and it needs to be comprehensive. It can’t be a piecemeal approach,” said Casey.

Chris Sanborn from R&L Archery in Barre says the waiting period in particular will hurt his business.

“Some of the old collectible stuff you’re not going to find at your local store, so how often do you drive that far? Now you have to drive there, drive back three days later,” said Sanborn.

With background checks and selective waiting periods already in place, Sanborn says he and his competitors don’t shy away from using their best judgement with customers.