> Today the House Judiciary Committee took up the Federation's suggested
> Veterans-Hunters-Shooters Protection Amendment to remove the totally
> unnecessary 18 month waiting period for those who have recovered from
> mental illness. This would allow recovered citizen to be able to petition a
> Vermont court to have their rights reinstated.
> This would have resulted in the federal NICS system being notified and the
> citizen to have the legal disability status removed.
> The Federation believed that if the 18 month waiting period was removed, it
> would provide a viable solution on this issue in S.141. Of the 31 states that
> have a similar NICS reporting system, 30 do not have a waiting period.
> The U.S. Department of Justice NICS restoration of rights process does not
> require a state waiting period. Not even for a state to qualify for its grants
> After testimony on the the proposed Federation amendment that was introduced
> by the Rep. Thomas Burditt (R) West Rutland, the language was discussed at
> length and was well received.
> At the very end of the hearing, Rep. Willem Jewett (D) Ripton introduced an
> amendment to the Federation amendment. His amendment would raise the
> standard of proof of a recovered citizen from a preponderance of evidence
> (51 percent) to the much higher "clear and convincing evidence" standard.
> This means a citizen who has recovered from mental illness and petitions to
> have their firearms right restored will face an expensive and very difficult legal
> process that virtually permanently bars them from the possession of firearms.
> This passed all passed in the committee, as did the now amended S.141.
> The vote to pass was along party lines.
> As the Federation was willing to not oppose S.141, if the Federation
> amendment was incorporated into S.141, the amending of the Federation
> language to include the draconian language of the Rep. Jewett has killed
> that offer and the Federation now remains strenuously opposed to S.141.
> S.141 now heads to the floor of the House and it should stand for its first
> floor vote on Thursday and its final vote on Friday.
> S.141 has ceased to be just a gun control bill. It has become much worse.
> In addition being an unnecessary gun control bill, it is a bill that could deter
> people from seeking assistance with mental illness issues. It now reinforces
> a stigma of disdain for those who have had the misfortunate to fall into mental
> illness. Like our returning Veterans and their families.
> The Federation and all of the other gun rights groups could have walked
> away from all of this after defeating S.31 and its mandatory background
> check system. But, instead all stayed to work to remove or correct serious
> and numerous legal and structural problems with the remaining two sections,
> in what became S.141.
> The members of the House Judiciary Committee who voted for S.141 have
> now staked out an inexcusable position of mislabeling the mentally ill (even
> when recovered) as forever being social and legal outcasts, excluded from
> from the respect and the rights of peaceful citizens.
> This awful amendment is now their position, on public record, let them defend it.
> If you would like to voice your opposition to the Jewett Amendment to S.141
> call the Sgt-At-Arms at 802-828-2228 and leave a message for Rep. Maxine
> Grad (House Judiciary Chair) and Rep. Willem Jewett (Vice-Chair):
> Please Justify The S.141 Jewett Amendment
> House Judiciary Members are:
> Maxine Grad, Chair
> (D) - Moretown
> Willem Jewett, Vice Chair
> (D) - Ripton
> Thomas Burditt, Ranking Member
> (R) - W. Rutland
> Charles Conquest
> (D) - Wells River
> William Frank
> (D) - Underhill
> Martin LaLonde
> (D) - S. Burlington
> Marcia Martel
> (R) - Waterford
> Betty Nuovo
> (D) - Middlebury
> Barbara Rachelson
> (D) - Burlington
> Vicki Strong
> (R) - Irasburg
> Gary Viens
> (R) - Newport
> The Committee Assistant is:
> Kate Wilson
> (802) 828-2257