“Activists blow cover on gun confiscation bill”
A bill that passed the Vermont House without controversy is now in doubt after gun-rights advocates exposed provisions allowing police to take guns during domestic disputes.
“It’s a highly illegal confiscation bill,” Gun Owners of Vermont president Ed Cutler told Vermont Watchdog.
“H.735 is a forfeiture bill that tells police if a person gets a temporary restraining order, they have to come into the house and take all weapons — not just firearms, but all weapons.”
At first glance H.735 appears to propose fee updates on mundane items — from lottery ticket sales to license renewals. Yet tucked away in the bill are provisions for the storage of firearms confiscated during domestic disputes. Gov. Peter Shumlin requested the gun-related provisions in October.
The seemingly innocuous fees came under fire during last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
State Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, blasted the bill, saying Vermonters would be “deprived of their property and … told they have to pay to get it back without ever having had a day in court.” Confiscating Vermonters’ property without due process violates the U.S. Constitution, he said.
“I don’t own a gun, but I do care about the Constitution, and when you bypass that, I find that offensive.”
Cutler told Watchdog the bill applies to any dangerous objects found on site during a domestic-dispute investigation.
“It could be steak knives, it could be firearms, bows and arrows, baseball bats, chainsaws, you name it. It leaves it to the discretion of the cop,” he said.
Sarah Kenney, the public policy director for Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said the provisions are necessary because of “alarming parallels between access to firearms and lethality in domestic violence cases.” She said women who obtain restraining orders are at risk of violent attack.
There’s also an alarming parallel between appeals to “public safety” and the aggressive attempt to take away natural rights.
So let me propose this: instead of police disarming people at their own discretion in cases of domestic abuse allegations, maybe they should teach some classes for abused women on how to operate a hand gun. A dead attacker is seldom accused of recidivism.
Except maybe during election time in Chicago.