Vermont is generally a liberal state, but a proposed gun control law has met stiff opposition from politicians across party lines.
A common misconception about gun control is that opposition is limited to politically conservative states. However, a proposed piece of gun control legislation is meeting fierce opposition in Vermont, which is considered one of the most liberal states in the country.
Senate Bill 31 would expand background checks, add state enforcement to the federal law banning convicted felons from owning guns, and increase reporting on those considered psychologically unfit to own a gun.
This may sound surprising, considering Vermont has not voted for a Republican president since 1988. The state actually has a very strong gun culture. Vermont has very few gun control regulations on the books, and it was the first state to legalize Constitutional Carry.
Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat who opposes the bill, explains how many people in Vermont feel about the Second Amendment:
I think it’s a result of years and years of Vermonters respecting guns as a tool to manage wildlife and to put food on the table. That’s what motivates us to own a gun. It’s not necessarily what motivates someone who lives in Manhattan to own a gun.
Not surprisingly, Vermont is one of the safest states in the country. Its violent crime rate is less than one third the national average. Since the state is already so safe, residents are hesitant to make any changes to existing gun laws. They especially oppose changes involving their Constitutional rights.
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