Vermont’s youth spoke out on gun violence Wednesday, asking lawmakers in Montpelier for common-sense gun reform. It was composed and emotional testimony.
“We need action and we need it now at this moment, it was due long ago,” said Hannah Frasure, Champlain Valley Union High School student.
The house and senate committees on education hosted the public hearing. Students representing a number of school districts across the state were there and demanded action.
“We’re not willing to just sort of let this issue be swept under the rug, to let another tragedy happen and not see legislative action,” said Conor Solimano, Vermont Board of Education, Rutland student member.
Students spoke of the recent ‘student walk-out’ movement which captivated Vermont and schools across the nation. The conversation comes just weeks after a deadly school shooting in Florida and a foiled shooting at Fair Haven Union High School.
“Yes, the system was on our side this time but what about next time or the time after that, how many times will we be lucky enough not to die,” said Willow Lane, East Montpelier student.
In recent weeks, lawmakers and Governor Phil Scott have been poised to make change.
Hours before Wednesday’s hearing the House Committee on Judiciary passed a senate-backed gun-related bill. It would ban bump stocks, raise the gun purchasing age to 21, implement universal background and put a ten-round limit on ammunition.
“This bill is important to me because I am supposed to feel safe at school, I have to be there by law and I shouldn’t be scared to be there,” said Oskar Neuberger, Montpelier High School student.
Opponents of gun reform in Vermont have also had their voices heard at the Statehouse recently. Most say the proposals would punish law abiding citizens and would infringe on Vermonter’s 2nd amendment rights.
The bill will likely be debated on the house floor this week.