Vermont House approves controversial bill restricting gun access in certain cases
After several hours of debate this week, the Vermont House gave its approval to a controversial bill that restricts access to guns in certain cases.
The bill includes a 72-hour waiting period to purchase a gun. It also calls for the safe storage of firearms in homes with children.
Cambridge Rep. Alyssa Black, a Democrat, said the bill is needed because Vermont's suicide rate is well above the national average, and that firearms were used in roughly 60% of all suicides.
More from Vermont Public: Gunshots project update: A record number of Vermonters died from guns in 2021. The vast majority were suicides.
"We have a gun problem in Vermont, and it's suicide — firearms are the most common method used in suicides in Vermont, and that is true across every age bracket," Black said.
Opponents argued that the bill is unconstitutional and will not have the preventative effect that backers claim it will.
House lawmakers considered the third reading of the bill Thursday, and after several proposed amendments failed — including one from Northfield Republican Rep. Anne Donahue to require a report on suicide deaths by firearm — the legislation passed.
It now moves on to the Vermont Senate.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available:
- National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: call 988 or text 988
- Click here for an online chat with the the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Veterans Crisis Line & Military Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-8255, press 1
- LGTBQ crisis line: call 1-866-488-7386 or text 678678
- Crisis Text Line: text "VT" to 741-741
- Resources with the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center
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