Editor’s note: This letter is written by Padric Hartnett, president of the Chittenden County Fraternal Order Of Police.
To the members of the Vermont Legislature:
I currently serve as the President of the Chittenden County Fraternal Order of Police. We are an organization of roughly two hundred law enforcement officers serving in state, county and municipal agencies. Although we are the Chittenden County Fraternal Order of Police, we are open to all law enforcement in the state. I would first and foremost like to state, our organizations’ sympathies go out to all those affected by the tragedy of the Parkland School shooting, as well as all of the other tragedies that have plagued us in recent times. This event was one of many senseless acts of violence conducted recently in the United States. As with many tragedies, a society looks for answers, and also somewhere to place the blame — in this case, the heated debates about gun regulation.
After asking the opinions of the lodges membership, we have come to the collective agreement that as citizens and members of the Law enforcement community, we strongly oppose the rash of new gun control legislation trying to be pushed rapidly through this session. Many view this as a quick knee-jerk reaction that is more based on feelings then trying to address other issues such as mental health, drugs and the proper enforcement of the laws already on the books. As fellow Vermonters, I assume you realize our state is synonymous with thousands of proud and educated firearms owners who have respected, and will continue to respect, what a firearm is and what its proper uses are.
As law enforcement, we acknowledge and whole heartily accept the responsibility of keeping the citizens of Vermont safe, and we are the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system. Our duty is to protect and serve, and we will continue to do this. Part of our service is ensuring [that] those we serve have their constitutional rights protected and un-infringed upon. We believe the bills will infringe upon Vermonters constitutional rights as citizens of this state, and this country. This could place us in a position of contention with law-abiding citizens for no good reason. We respectfully ask these laws not be pushed forward, and to have a more realistic, all encompassing look into the larger issues, rather then use firearm laws as a quick fix.
Padric Hartnett – President