House passes 24-hour waiting period for gun purchases

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House passes 24-hour waiting period for gun purchases

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 3:41am -- Anonymous

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House on Wednesday evening gave preliminary approval to gun violence prevention measures in S.169 on a vote of 82-58. The law is intended to provide a "cooling off" period for people considering suicide. The bill also updates language regarding the purchase and use of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The law, if signed as is by Governor Phil Scott, would:

  • Establish a 24-hour waiting period for the purchase of handguns; and,

  • Update and provide clarity on several restrictions on the transfer and use of high capacity ammunition feeding devices.

While Governor Scott signed gun bills last year, he has not said if he would sign this one. At a press conference Thursday, he did not reveal his intent on this bill or on any of the controversial pieces of legislation that will come to his desk soon. While he opposes generally raising taxes or the minimum wage, he used measured language when discussing whether he would veto any bill.

“This bill is a gun violence prevention bill,” said Representative Martin Lalonde (D-South Burlington), the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee who presented the bill on the floor. “It not only prevents impulsive acts of self-violence, but also prevents homicides. A waiting period provides time to cool off, interrupting the impulsive chain of events that lead to self-harm or violence. We know that many suicide attempts occur with little planning during a short-term crisis, and that 90% of firearm suicide attempts result in death. Instituting a short waiting period lets the heat of the moment pass and helps to prevent the tragedy of suicide.” 

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) added, “our goal is to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, not responsible gun owners. This bill is an important step in ensuring Vermonters are safe and our communities are strong.”

“I’m proud of the important step the House took tonight,” added Representative Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “S.169 moves us toward our goals of suicide and domestic violence prevention. This bill is an important public safety bill that will save lives.”

Third Reading Vote:

Those who voted in the affirmative are:
Ancel of Calais *
Anthony of Barre City
Austin of Colchester *
Bartholomew of Hartland
Bates of Bennington
Birong of Vergennes
Briglin of Thetford
Brumsted of Shelburne
Burke of Brattleboro
Campbell of St. Johnsbury
Carroll of Bennington
Chesnut-Tangerman of
Middletown Springs
Christensen of Weathersfield
Christie of Hartford
Coffey of Guilford
Colburn of Burlington
Colston of Winooski
Conlon of Cornwall
Conquest of Newbury
Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford
Corcoran of Bennington
Cordes of Lincoln
Dolan of Waitsfield
Durfee of Shaftsbury
Elder of Starksboro
Emmons of Springfield
Gardner of Richmond
Giambatista of Essex
Gonzalez of Winooski
Grad of Moretown *
Haas of Rochester
Hashim of Dummerston
Hooper of Montpelier
Hooper of Burlington
Houghton of Essex
Howard of Rutland City
James of Manchester
Jerome of Brandon
Jessup of Middlesex
Killacky of South Burlington
Kimbell of Woodstock
Kitzmiller of Montpelier
Kornheiser of Brattleboro
Krowinski of Burlington
LaLonde of South
Lanpher of Vergennes
Lippert of Hinesburg
Long of Newfane
Macaig of Williston
Masland of Thetford
McCarthy of St. Albans City
McCormack of Burlington
McCullough of Williston
Mrowicki of Putney *
Murphy of Fairfax
Nicoll of Ludlow
Ode of Burlington
O'Sullivan of Burlington
Partridge of Windham
Patt of Worcester
Pugh of South Burlington
Rachelson of Burlington
Ralph of Hartland
Redmond of Essex *
Scheu of Middlebury
Sheldon of Middlebury
Squirrell of Underhill
Stevens of Waterbury
Sullivan of Dorset
Sullivan of Burlington
Taylor of Colchester
Till of Jericho
Toleno of Brattleboro
Toll of Danville
Townsend of South
Troiano of Stannard
Walz of Barre City
Webb of Shelburne
White of Hartford
Wood of Waterbury
Yacovone of Morristown
Yantachka of Charlotte

Those who voted in the negative are:
Bancroft of Westford
Batchelor of Derby
Beck of St. Johnsbury
Bock of Chester
Brennan of Colchester
Brownell of Pownal
Browning of Arlington
Burditt of West Rutland
Canfield of Fair Haven
Chase of Colchester
Cupoli of Rutland City
Demrow of Corinth
Donahue of Northfield
Hango of Berkshire
Harrison of Chittenden
Helm of Fair Haven
Higley of Lowell
Hill of Wolcott
Hooper of Randolph
Jickling of Randolph
LaClair of Barre Town
Lefebvre of Newark
Leffler of Enosburgh
Marcotte of Coventry
Mattos of Milton
McCoy of Poultney
O'Brien of Tunbridge
Page of Newport City
Pajala of Londonderry
Palasik of Milton
Potter of Clarendon
Quimby of Concord
Rogers of Waterville
Rosenquist of Georgia
Savage of Swanton
Scheuermann of Stowe
Seymour of Sutton
Shaw of Pittsford
Smith of Derby

Fagan of Rutland City
Fegard of Berkshire
Feltus of Lyndon
Gamache of Swanton
Goslant of Northfield
Graham of Williamstown
Gregoire of Fairfield
McFaun of Barre Town
Morgan of Milton
Morrissey of Bennington
Myers of Essex
Norris of Shoreham
Notte of Rutland City
Noyes of Wolcott
Smith of New Haven
Strong of Albany
Szott of Barnard
Terenzini of Rutland Town
Toof of St. Albans Town

Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:
Cina of Burlington
Dickinson of St. Albans Town
Donovan of Burlington
Gannon of Wilmington
Martel of Waterford
Sibilia of Dover
Trieber of Rockingham
Young of Greensboro


Rep. Ancel of Calais explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

When my husband was serving in the Vermont Senate, he introduced a waiting period bill. He introduced it because of concerns about domestic violence and suicide prevention. That was 30 years ago. All I can think to say at this moment is, Finally!”

Rep. Austin of Colchester explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker: Andrew Black was a student of mine and I do wonder if this law has been enacted earlier if he would be alive today.”

Rep. Grad of Moretown explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker: I vote yes. S. 169 moves us towards our goals of suicide prevention, preventing domestic violence related homicides, and decreasing firearm related crimes such as human and drug trafficking. S. 169 is an important public health and safety measure that will save lives.”

Rep. Mrowicki of Putney explained his vote as follows: “Madam Speaker: My yes vote is for public safety. This bill will slow down a situation spinning out of control and help keep firearms out of the wrong hands at the wrong time. And, yes if it saves one life, it’s worth it.”

Rep. Redmond of Essex explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker: Today, Everytown for Gun Safety released the results of a survey of 800 VT adults. It shows that 80 percent of Vermonters support a 24-hour waiting period for all handgun sales. The survey also indicates that 75 percent of Vermonters support gun violence prevention legislation that was passed by VT lawmakers last year. My Essex constituents overwhelmingly support S. 169 and I have heard from dozens and dozens of them. I cast my vote this evening in favor of a waiting period and I do so in honor of a beloved young man from Essex who departed this life much too early, and his courageous parents whose advocacy will save future VT lives.”

Before the final vote a handfull of changes were offered and defeated including the exclusion of gun show purchases (56-81) and Internet/phone purchases (50-89) that would take longer than 24 hours for the firearm to arrive. Another amendment was defeated (49-93) that would have allowed those with an existing or verifiable abuse prevention order being excluded from the 24 hourvwaiting period.

Rep. Seymour of Sutton explained his vote as follows:
“Madam Speaker:
I am disappointed that this amendment was not supported by more members of the House. I truly felt this was an opportunity to make this bill better for all Vermonters. Let us not forget that gun rights are women's rights as well.”

Rep. Donahue of Northfield then moved that the bill be committed to the committee on Health Care, which effectively would have delayed a final vote on the bill until next year. This motion also was defeated 46-94.

Rep. Donahue of Northfield explained her vote as follows:
“Madam Speaker:
Is this a gun restriction law under the guise of suicide prevention, or a suicide prevention effort through the vehicle of a gun restriction law? A refusal to have the Health Care committee review it answers that question.”

Adjournment At eight o'clock and thirty-three minutes in the evening, on motion of Rep. McCoy of Poultney, the House adjourned until Thursday at nine o'clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.


1 A. Elnour and J. Harrison, “Lethality of Suicide Methods,” Inj Prev 14 (2008): 39-45,

Source: Speaker 5.15.2019