On numerous issues Governor Shumlin is eager to push Vermont as a national model for progressive big government schemes. That clearly does not seem to hold true for the gun control issue. For a more detailed account, see this Burlington Free Press article.
When it comes to health care, this is what Gov. Peter Shumlin says: “If Vermont can get this right, the other states will follow.”
Name just about any other topic — same-sex marriage, shutting down nuclear power plants, penalties for marijuana, clean energy — and Shumlin expresses the same sentiment: Vermont should lead the way.
He disregards cross-border complications with the argument that Vermont can send a message to other states, show how things are done.
This argument seems to transcend all issues — except gun control. That, Shumlin says, is a federal issue.
“That’s how we have to proceed: with a national solution with all 50 states,” Shumlin said last week. “The challenge for doing this state by-state is, it won’t work.”
Not all of Shumlin’s fellow governors, including some Democrats, seem to agree. Following last month’s shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, they are scurrying to make changes to state laws.
Yet, despite his resistance, some of Vermont’s progressives intend to go there during this legislative session:
As the 2013 legislative session dawns next week, some lawmakers will be pushing for changes in the state’s gun laws, widely considered to be among the least restrictive in the country. Bills are brewing in both the House and Senate, seeking to restrict what kind of guns are available.
Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, said he’s requested a bill be drafted that regulates the sale of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic guns such as the AR-15 Bushmaster that was used in the Connecticut shootings and in the Christmas Eve slaying of two firefighters in suburban Rochester, N.Y. Baruth said he’s also interested in requiring trigger locks for guns.
Baruth takes the opposite argument of Shumlin. “Nothing’s going to happen at the federal level,” he said, noting resistance in the Republican-controlled House.
Baruth noted that states choose to regulate fireworks even though they may be purchased in other states. “I got elected to try to control what happens within our state’s borders,” he said.
Baruth said it’s too early to say how much support he’ll have, but there are similar efforts under way in the House.
Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, D-Essex Junction, said she’s also focusing on the capacity of a gun clip, or how often it can fire in quick succession, with an eye toward restricting those that fire more than 10 rounds.
Waite-Simpson has been down this road before with legislation seeking to require gun locks and faced powerful opposition, but this time she’s finding more interest from legislators.