Monday January 14, 2013

Gov. Shumlin and guns

Governor Shumlin accepted a $2,500 cash "contribution" from the NRA's Political Action Committee during his campaign last fall, so it is not surprising that he is failing to offer any leadership at all on addressing the issue of gun violence on a state level.

FBI statistics show that the rate of firearms deaths in Vermont is the highest of any state in New England, about fifty percent higher than Maine or New Hampshire, and three times as high as Massachusetts. Gun laws in Vermont are virtually non-existent. Semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines are sold without any state restrictions. A sixteen year old in Vermont can't legally go to an R-rated movie alone, buy cigarettes or alcohol, but he can buy a handgun at a gun show without a background check and carry it concealed in his jeans without a permit in a shopping mall, movie theatre, or church and be completely within the limits of the law.

The violence is ongoing and it is all around us; reading the local news every day we realize it doesn't just happen in sensational events such as the shootings at Sandy Hook. Changing state gun laws is only a small part of changing a culture of violence, but it is a start.

I ask my fellow citizens to join me and contact our state legislators.


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They could start to change our Vermont state gun laws now that the legislature is back in session, but as former State Senator Mary Ann Carlson has made abundantly clear, they are fearful of being attacked by the gun lobby.

Please tell our legislators that we want reasonable regulations that will help ensure that we can live in peace and safety. They need to hear the message loud and clear.

NED PERKINS

Banner inconsistency on ‘thank you' letters

It's a shame that the Banner has a policy of not printing "thank you" notes but does not enforce across the board but selectively. I submitted a thank you for support for Hurricane Sandy relief from Walmart which was not published but there are many "thank you for your support" from others and all those running for office receive print time. Can you justify this?

BILL HARTZ

Bennington