Op-Ed: Vermonters must stay on target

For generations, the people of Vermont have coalesced in one way or another around freedom and liberty, as enshrined in the state constitution and defended by an armed citizenry. It’s extremely unfortunate that at such a crucial juncture we are now torn asunder over something as ridiculous as “electability,” and what mainstream political candidate for governor is going to defend our rights.

If you’ve been paying close attention to what’s been going on in Vermont, as we all like to attest, the answer to that question should be obvious: none of them. To rally behind a big money, calculating, focus group approved politician at this point, whether it be incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott or write-in Democratic State Sen. John Rodgers or anybody else, contradicts everything the Vermont freedom-liberty movement stands for.

The problems run deeper than the sitting governor and current establishment. Until people realize that there are viable alternatives – as embodied in the very promising Windsor County state senate candidates Randy Gray, Wayne Townsend, and Jack Williams – and become involved in the political process by exercising their right to vote, the freedom-liberty movement in Vermont will be beset by bigger, and perhaps even costlier failures, than recently experienced with S.55.

To be sure, those on the side of gun control and further restrictions on firearms in Vermont continue to ignore the simple fact that Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution provides the following: “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense [sic] of themselves and the State.” Period and point blank. This one sentence trumps even the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with “gun-grabbers” still debating the meaning of “infringed” until all of Addison County’s milk cows come home.

These same folks like to argue that in the case of legalizing marijuana, “What the State says goes,” but there’s a double standard for firearms rights. And as with the Vermont Legislature’s first-in-the-nation legalization of marijuana through the law-making process, the public did not get to decide on the recent passage of Senate Bill S.55, and House Bills H.422 and H.221.

They were originally well-intended pieces of legislation that were loaded with unconstitutional amendments by the likes of Democratic State Senators Dick McCormack, Alison Clarkson, and other notables who, I dare say, have never even set foot in a Vermont gun shop. All these unconstitutional laws were passed at the behest of a supposedly conservative Republican governor who in 2016 actively courted the support of pro-Vermont gun culture groups like Gun Owners of Vermont and the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

After giant crowds of gun-rights supporters swarmed the Statehouse in February, Democratic Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson and Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chair Maxine Grad denied an additional public hearing on the bills, as they knew those in opposition could mobilize several thousand more wearing orange to attend. Instead, they rushed the bills through the Legislature in a little more than three weeks. And they did so despite a massive outpouring of calls and emails to legislators at the Statehouse – so numerous that that the Sergeant-at-Arms had to bring in additional personnel to man the phone lines.

Moreover, these legislators did not consult a single Vermont gun shop, even though the latter would bear a disproportionate amount of the economic burden created by the new regulations due to limitations on firearms Vermonters would no longer be able to buy and sell. Indeed my own state representative, Democrat Charlie Kimbell, admitted that he had never even seen or heard of a 4473, the standard form for the Federal background check performed by all licensed firearms dealers in the U.S.

Vermonters never asked for gun control measures; politicians entrenched in Montpelier wanted them. But rest assured, the proponents of firearms rights in Vermont, who constitute a sizeable chunk of the voting public, will make their voices heard in November. Source: www.truenorthreports.com/gun-owners-mobilize-to-vote-scott-out-of-office.

  Written by KT Cappellini, chair of the Windsor County GOP.

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