Wednesday, January 2, 2013


City of Burlington Gun Control Ban
The Mayor and some members of the City Council of Burlington have publicly proclaimed that they
seek to take up enacting a ban of semi-automatic firearms.  The supporters of this proposed ban
plan to enact the gun ban by a change to Burlington's City Charter. 
To enact such a charter change would require repealing, amending, or by other means, circumventing
Vermont statute 24 VSA Section 2295, commonly known as the Vermont's Sportsman's Bill of Rights. 
If the city is able to get the legislature to neutralize the protections of this law, it would invite more
attacks on this law from municipalities all over the state.  Such regulatory or ban attacks would not be
limited to just firearm ownership, it would become open season on all of the outdoor sporting/shooting 
interests protected by the Vermont's Sportsman's Bill of Rights law. 
24 VSA 2295 Reads:
§ 2295. Authority of municipal and county governments to regulate firearms, ammunition, hunting, fishing and trapping
Except as otherwise provided by law, no town, city or incorporated village, by ordinance, resolution or other enactment, shall directly regulate hunting, fishing and trapping or the possession, ownership, transportation, transfer, sale, purchase, carrying, licensing or registration of traps, firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or ammunition. This section shall not limit the powers conferred upon a town, city or incorporated village under section 2291(8) of this title. The provisions of this section shall supersede any inconsistent provisions of a municipal charter. (Added 1987, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), eff. May 9, 1988.)
Presumably the elected officials in Burlington are seeking a semi-automatic firearm ban in reaction to
the Connecticut shooting tragedy.  They may not understand that semi-automatic firearms are among
the most popular firearms in Vermont and lawfully owned by citizens for over 100 years.  Also, that
their proposed ban is an attack on our Vermont Sportsman's Bill of Rights law, thus endangering the 
protection of the activities honored by the outdoor sporting/shooting communities in our state.  
The Vermont Sportsman's Bill of Rights was enacted to avoid a patchwork of conflicting laws throughout
the state, so complicated as to make voluntary lawful compliance by citizens nearly impossible. 
Make no mistake, the City of Burlington gun ban proposal not only attacks the ownership of firearms by
responsible citizens, it attacks the viability of Vermont's Sportsman's Bill of Rights.
The Vermont Federation of Sportsman's Clubs is an organization of clubs having ranks full of parents and
grandparents as members. We take gun safety very seriously, which is why the federation invests so much
time in the training of shooters/hunters, development of safe ranges, training programs, and enactment of
pertinent laws and regulations.
What has become clear thus far in the recent heated public discussion is that numerous factors play critical
roles in the complex problem of preventing violent crime. That said, it is the experience of the federation that
those who commit violent criminal acts do not obey laws.
Hence, the federation has long held that laws which restrict the ownership of firearms by peaceful citizens do not
deter crime and only serve to slander the vast majority of gun owners, who are very responsible citizens.
All while handing advantage to the perpetrators of violent crime.
Therefore, the Vermont Federation of Sportsman's Clubs strenuously opposes the City of Burlington gun ban
proposal because it attacks the ownership of firearms by responsible citizens and it also endangers the viability
of Vermont's Sportsman's Bill of Rights.

The federation does not engage in the legislative or regulatory process in a hasty manner. We believe
that laws created in haste, particularly in the emotional aftermath immediately following a traumatic event,
usually lack the sound public policy that society has a right to demand in its laws. We continue to believe
in a deliberate legislative process.
Therefore, the federation will continue its long standing practice of being willing to offer our knowledge and
decades of experience to our state in legislative discussions on proposed legislation involving firearms.