Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our view of the Burlington Ban

Earlier this evening the Burlington City Council overwhelmingly voted
to move forward with its proposed gun control ban, by charter change.

About 100 people showed up to speak to the city council and the mayor.
The crowd was obviously opposed to the gun ban proposal.  Approximately
20 to 30 members of the audience spoke to the council, all spoke to the
city officials.  While citizens were speaking members of the council were
texting, obviously bored with the citizens commentary.

The back and forth discussion of the city council and the mayor was a
recital of antigun justification for their actions.

The city officials then amended the proposal to make it even more loosely
written and worse, more restrictive, because the final version had a
handgun registration requirement.

The amended proposal now goes off to a charter committee, before
going back to the same city council. 

What is really disgusting about all of this is that what the city officials
have done is obviously in conflict with the 24 VSA Section 2295,
commonly known as Vermont's Sportsmen's Bill of Rights and
exceeds the authority the legislation grants to municipalities in
24 VSA Section 2291(8)

Worse, the members of the city council and the mayor repeatedly
said they weren't sure a gun ban would work but they want to open
discussion in the city.in the state and ultimately in the nation.

This "discussion" agenda for this proposed legislation is not just
legal just cause for the grasp for authority the city officials seek.

Their own legal counsel, when asked, related their was no
precedent for such excessive gun control power being granted
in the state.  That did not give the city officials pause.

When asked, the police chief, could not make the case for an
increase in violent criminal use of firearms.  Certainly not by
use with the type of firearms the city seeks to ban.
Vermont has a long legal precedent of being a Dillon's Rule
state, meaning municipalities are entities of the state.  They
only have the powers granted to them by the state.  In this
case the state had not just not granted the municipalities
the power to regulate the ownership and possession of
firearms.  The state specifically denied this power by the
cited Vermont's Sportsmen's Bill of Rights.

Ultimately, the city officials passed the proposal forward in
the enactment process not because it was sound public
policy, but because they wanted to have a "discussion"
on banning semi-automatic firearms.  Even though this
type of firearm is the common and popular type of rifle
and handguns in civilian possession in this country.

Worse, the city officials voted to criminalize the possession
of these firearms for "discussion" and in contempt of
state law.  And they fully expect to be rewarded for their
contemptuous action with the legislation granting them
a charter charter that makes cheap of said state statutes,
as well as the Vermont and U.S. Constitutions.
When government officials so knowingly and blatantly
abuse their authority for the satisfaction of their own
personal agendas in a "think globally, act locally"
mission, they set an ugly example for citizens. 
We all have witnessed too much of government officials
demanding citizens obey the law, while they make a
mockery of responsible behavior, just government and 
compliance with our laws.  Laws they make and enforce.

Tonight these City of Burlington elected officials set
themselves above the law and the citizenry they are
supposed to serve. 
But, they missed one most important point.  If they think
we are just going away they are very, very wrong.