The 2013 Vermont Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission report gives a bleak outlook on Vermont’s domestic violence level: Fifty percent of all homicides are domestic violence related; 56 percent of all domestic violence homicides were committed with firearms. These are troubling statistics, until you look at the number of domestic violence homicides by firearm in Vermont.
2009: Two DV homicides, zero by firearm. (There were no firearm homicides in Vt. in 2009)
2010: There were three DV homicides, one by firearm.
2011: Four DV homicides, three by firearm.
2012: Four DV homicides, one by firearm.
From 2009-2012, Vermont averaged eight homicides per year, two by firearm. Compare: New Hampshire had 13 average, six by firearm; Connecticut had 128 average, 93 by firearm; Massachusetts had 171 average, 101 by firearm and New York had 774 average, 463 firearm. Massachusetts has stricter gun laws, less legal firearms ownership and fifty times as many gun deaths per year as Vermont! That is why "percentages" and "rates" are used: They are much scarier than actual numbers.
Two deaths a year, out of 620,000 people is not an "emergency" that needs to be legislated. The statistics are rigged to suggest the need for a new gun law.
Sarah Kenney, Public Policy Coordinator for The Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has invented a crisis to push for the unadjudicated confiscation of firearms from people accused of domestic violence.
H.735 was created to slip that unconstitutional law in, under the guise of a "fee" bill, without anyone noticing. Guess what? We noticed.
H.735 passed the House without discussion.
I produced an analysis of the last 19 years of the Vermont Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission report for Gun Owners of Vermont, Inc. What I discovered is that up until 2007 firearms ownership was never in question. Recommendations to help victims were discussed and proposed. None included firearms confiscation.
Every report since has referenced the need for enacting firearms relinquishment law. Coincidently, 2007 was the first year Sarah Kenney worked on the Review Commission. 2007 and 2008 had one page, 2009 had five, 2010 had eight, 2011 had five, 2012 had three pages.
The 2013 report had zero pages referencing the need for a confiscation/relinquishment law. H.735 was already in the works.
Every year the Fatality Review Commission offered Case studies, Recommendations and Responses, often totaling 10-15 pages. Annual reports ranged from 35 to 44 pages from 2007 to 2012.
2013 was only 20 pages long, offering no case studies, recommendations, or responses to previous recommendations. Why? Because H.735 fulfilled all her goals of firearms confiscation.
Kenney is the most vocal proponent of H.735, testifying repeatedly, using her report as "proof" that women need protection from men. Except Ms. Kenney’s own report shows men are the victims of domestic violence 46 percent of the time! My analysis was emailed to every Senator in Montpelier; more testimony was given and much debate followed.
H.735 passed the Senate last week with modifications making the fees higher, along party lines.
According to reports, Vermont averages 3,600 petitions a year for Relief From Abuse orders.
Of the domestic violence homicides in the last 20 years, out of an estimated 72,000 requests, only 17 orders were in effect! Confiscating firearms wouldn’t have a huge impact on homicides, but would fulfill anti-gun activists’ desires and create a logistical problem for law enforcement.
This is why the legislature proposed the Firearms Storage bill earlier this year: They were preparing for H.735 to pass.
An estimated 3,600 to 36,000 guns a year would need to be confiscated! At $100 a gun, this would be a massive monetary incentive for the State! All the Democratic Senators voted for the bill even after they were made aware that it was flawed and unconstitutional.
On Saturday, I emailed the analysis, a copy of a legal review, and an analysis of the original testimony given in January to the House, to every Representative in Montpelier.
This is the only "gun control" bill to make it this far, and it seems it is considered a "must pass" by the Governor and the Legislature, regardless of its legality.
Our state is now getting national press articles written about this bill and the backroom deals.
I hope our Representatives take this opportunity to review these documents and see why this is of concern to all Vermonters. My desire is that our Representatives see the flaws in this bill and vote "no" on H.735.
These reports are available for downloading on the Gun Owners of Vermont Facebook page.
Bob DePino is a resident of Westminster West.