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Seven Days Reporter Tracks Vermont's 'Second Amendment Sanctuary' Towns

An AR-15 rifle pictured with a 30-round magazine and a 10-round magazine. Vermont law now prohibits the sale and purchase of magazines with more than 10 rounds.
Charles Krupa
Associated Press
An AR-15 rifle pictured with a 30-round and a 10-round magazine. Vermont law prohibits the sale and purchase of magazines with more than 10 rounds, a new gun control measure opposed by many seeking "Second Amendment sanctuary" status for Vermont towns.

The term "sanctuary city" is often used to indicate a city or town that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. But in a small but growing number of Vermont towns, there's another sanctuary movement taking place: resolutions to make their community a "second amendment sanctuary," a symbolic rebuff of any federal or state laws that would put limits on one's right to bear arms. 

Eric Davis of Northfield, the new president of Gun Owners of Vermont, explained why he and other Second Amendment advocates are working to pass what he admits are mostly symbolic resolutions in towns across Vermont.

"What we're asking you to do is pass this resolution as sort of a symbolic thing to help us get the attention of the folks in Montpelier who don't otherwise seem to be willing to listen to us," Davis told a meeting of the Barre Town Selectboard on Jan. 21.

"We've been fighting this fight for a long time, and they keep coming back year after year with more restrictions and more gun control ... and it never stops," he said.

"We feel like we're not being listened to and we feel like we're being treated a little bit like criminals, and like we're some sort of problem here, and we don't think we are."

Seven Days reporter Derek Brouwer joins Vermont Edition to talk about his reporting on Vermont's "Second Amendment sanctuaries" and how the issue could be raised in more towns on Town Meeting Day.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.
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