Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Latest Report on BTV

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Report for Day #5-7 of On-site VT Public Record Law Review of Burlington Anti-Gun Proposals
Burlington City Hall, 11/13 9AM – 1:30PM; 11/15 1:15PM-3:30PM; 11/20 9:15AM – 11:30AM
Chris Bradley and Evan Hughes went to Burlington City Hall on Wednesday 11/13, Friday 11/15 and Wednesday 11/20.  The number of documents produced on Wednesday 11/20 was so pathetic that there was no sense in traveling to Burlington on Friday 11/22 as originally planned.

In terms of numbers the city has produced approximately 2,500 pieces for review.  Of those, exactly 2,004 have been emails and of those approximately 586 are non-duplicates.  To date, the City has informed the Federation that there are 104 documents that we have been blocked from seeing either through redaction or outright exemption.  In some at least one case, the City has redacted only the subject lines (but none of the body).

This means that so far, the City is withholding about 15 percent of the documents it has acknowledged exists.  What the City is essentially saying then is that several of the discussions over the development of hoped-for City ordinances are not open to public review, which is highly questionable given that this should all have been a very open process.

Remember, the city was informed of the federation request to view these materials on September 19.
The city refused to allow any viewing of the requested materials until the morning of Tuesday, October
22, the morning after the city council voted to proceed forward with their proposed gun control ordinances.

The City has miserably failed to comply with the time requirements of the Vermont Public Records Law and to date has provided only about 2,500 documents of the approximately 18,000+/- items it reports it has.

The review of the requested materials is providing some very revealing information, which is all the more reason for wanting to see what is the withheld and not yet disclosed.  But, would a Mayor and City Council that has no respect for the Vermont Sportsmen's Bill of Rights respect the Vermont Public Records Law? 
Obviously not. If you think this wrong, you can let them know you strongly object to their political shenanigans.
Chris Bradley - Secretary
Vermont State Rifle And Pistol Association (VSRPA)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Burlington City Council moves on gun regulations

The next public hearing are at noon on Friday, January 17 and then 7 PM on Monday, January 27.
The meeting last night was not a public hearing, the city council had no scheduled public comment
session dedicated to the proposed gun control ordinances.
Burlington City Council moves on gun regulations

Two approved, one sent back for fine tuning

Nov. 18, 2013     

Burlington City Councilor Tom Ayres, D-Ward 7, listens to public comment during Monday night's city council meeting at Contois Auditorium. / EMILY McMANAMY/FREE PRESS
Written by, April Burbank , Free Press Staff Writer

The Burlington City Council was expected to approve final ballot language for three proposed regulations on guns Monday but encountered some legal questions along the way.
The Council ultimately approved two of the resolutions — a safe firearm storage requirement and a ban on guns in establishments with liquor licenses — with amendments. Council members sent a third resolution, which would allow police seizure of guns in cases of suspected domestic abuse, back to the committee level for more fine-tuning.
Opponents of the proposed regulations argued in a public comment period, as they had at previous meetings, that the city lacks authority to enact the changes under state law. The issue came up on Monday as City Attorney Eileen Blackwood answered councilors' questions.
"It requires a change in state law for there to be any regulation, so that's the reason why we're going through these steps," Blackwood said. "Then, when it goes to the Legislature, the Legislature has the authority to change whatever the voters of Burlington have voted and can add or subtract things."
Each resolution would ask for permission from the state that "expressly supersedes" a law that prohibits municipalities from regulating the possession of firearms.
The City Council had approved the three proposed charter changes at a highly-attended Oct. 21 meeting; since then, the Charter Change Committee had been working through the exact language of the resolutions with a goal of preparing them for public hearings in January and a public vote in March.
City Council President Joan Shannon, D-Ward 5, first suggested moving on the three regulations as a "slate" on Monday; the Council opted instead to consider them one-by-one.
The City Council adopted amendments that would allow the city to have leeway in determining penalties for violations of the proposed laws, which could include civil and criminal penalties as well as forfeiture of weapons involved in a violation.
The City Council approved the amended ballot language for the ban on guns in bars with a 12-1 vote; Councilor Paul Decelles, R-Ward 7, opposed. The Council approved ballot language for the safe storage requirement with an 11-2 vote; Decelles and Councilor David Hartnett, D-Ward 4, opposed.
Page 2 of 2)
Public hearings on the two provisions have been scheduled for noon on Jan. 17 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 27 in Contois Auditorium.
The City Council voted unanimously to send the domestic violence provision back to the Charter Change Committee after some confusion over what a "violation" of the requirement would actually mean.
The vote was taken with an expectation of receiving a resolution back at the Council's Dec. 16 meeting, the last scheduled meeting that would allow the Council to move forward in time for a public vote in March.
Burlington gun collector Ian Galbraith told the City Council before the votes that gun-rights advocates would speak out against the proposals in Montpelier.
"We're all over the place, and there's a lot of us," said Galbraith, wearing a hunter-orange cap. "Thank you, and thank you for the process."

Also at Monday's meeting:

• The City Council considered an ordinance prohibiting people from leaving their pets unattended in vehicles, which would support a state statute and allow police or other responders to use "reasonable force" to remove an animal from a vehicle and bring the animal to a humane society, veterinarian or pound. The Council voted unanimously to refer the ordinance to the Ordinance Committee.
• City Councilors allowed a cut in their own expense reimbursement account limits — lowering the cap from $5,000 to $3,000 per councilor for the current fiscal year — as they approved a plan to reduce the fiscal 2014 budget by nearly a half million dollars. The proposal, put forward by Chief Administrative Officer Bob Rusten, also calls for the city to find cost savings or increased revenue in its health insurance plan, parking fees and miscellaneous expenses.
• In a work session before the full City Council meeting, Rusten presented Council members with an overview of the city's self-funded health insurance system, which has required increased city contributions in the past several years. Rusten asked the City Council to provide guidance about investigating possible changes to the health insurance system.
• Burlington organizations received the go-ahead to launch a citywide parking initiative with the goal of educating the public, assessing the city's infrastructure, experimenting with new parking-related pilot projects and crafting a comprehensive downtown parking management plan by March 2015. The Burlington Business Association, the Community and Economic Development Office, the Department of Public Works, the Burlington Police Department and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission are among the groups participating in the initiative.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Burlington City Council to Discuss Proposed Gun Control Ordiances

The gun control resolutions will be reviewed, these were were passed on October 21 and signed by the mayor on October 21.
The next public hearings on the proposed gun control ordinances are scheduled for January 17 and 27.  (See BFP Article below)

Gun regulations, health insurance to be discussed at Burlington's City Council

Nov. 18, 2013 1:32 PM      

Written by
April Burbank
Free Press Staff Writer
Burlington's three proposed regulations on guns are slated to return to the City Council on Monday night with ballot language.
The provisions relating to safe gun storage, police seizure of firearms in a domestic abuse incident and a ban on guns in establishments with liquor licenses were approved by the council on Oct. 21. They returned to the Charter Change Committee for fine-tuning. Pending approval Monday night, two public hearings on the gun-related provisions would be scheduled for noon on Jan. 17 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 27 in Contois Auditorium. The measures would go before voters in March and would have to be approved by the state Legislature before taking effect.
The City Council schedule begins with a worksession at 6 p.m. to discuss the city's health insurance plans. Later, in the adjourned meeting that begins at 7:15 p.m., changes to the health insurance plan are one piece of a proposal to adjust the city's current budget by about $500,000.
The regular meeting will also include reports from the library commission and the retirement board, a resolution honoring the Burlington Youth Football Program, and a proposed launch of an initiative to improve downtown parking.
A group of 10 councilors has also sponsored a new ordinance prohibiting people from leaving their pets unattended in vehicles, which would support a state statute.
Contact April Burbank at (802) 660-1863 or

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

City of Burlington Politicians "You Were Wrong to Tread on Veterans Day"

                                                    Honoring Veterans Day

The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs continued our long tradition of honoring the

November 11, Veterans Day, as a day set aside for respecting the service of the active duty
armed forces personnel and veterans of this nation. Service that has been rendered with
sacrifice by our military personnel and their families.  We stand with honoring Veterans Day
by the legal closing of federal, state, county and local government business on this solemn day.
The federation holds it is disheartening that the mayor and city council would allow any activist
events to take place in the city council chambers on Veterans Day.  For this reason the federation
objects to last night's Politically Correct gun control rally, which was thinly disguised as an
"educational forum." 
In allowing the PC gun control rally on Veterans Day the politicians of Burlington have undermined
the sanctity of Veterans Day.  Any political lip service about respecting Veterans Day is worthless
sales talk, for actions speak much louder than mere fancy words of politicians. 
The federation waited until after the PC gun control rally had been held to speak out, so as to not
be falsely accused of working to disrupt the PC rally.  Nor are we not now speaking out to seek
equal city hall access, our objection is to Burlington's politicians wrongly treading on Veterans Day.
It is not surprising that the Burlington politicians who have no respect for the Vermont Sportsmen's
Bill of Rights would have no respect for Veterans Day.  We will not silently endure either insult.
It is most appropriate to contact Mayor Weinberger at 802-865-7272 and the City Council President
Joan Shannon at 802-860-7489 to object to making city hall an activist PC rally site on Veterans Day.
A simple "You Were Wrong to Tread on Veterans Day" should get the conversation moving right along.
 Here is a link to the Burlington Free Press article on the subject. Link

Thursday, November 7, 2013


 The City of Montpelier has a solid precedent in being unbelievably difficult to deal with in their attacks on sportsmen's rights.  See what is underlined below.
From: []
Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2013 3:21 PM
    Hello Everyone,
Sorry for the late notice but tonight's public hearing has not been advertised, at least to my knowledge, and Vermont Traditions Coalition got caught by surprise.
This public hearing will begin at 6 PM at the Berlin Elementary School Libarary.  The Berlin School is located directly across the interstate access four corners opposite the Shaw's Grocery Plaza.  The hearing is being held by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation on the City of Montpelier's proposal to ban motorized ice fishing augers and ice shanties on Berlin Pond.
The state's confirmation of this hearing just received this afternoon is below.  It includes a copy of the Petition.
The Petition states that gasoline powered augers should be banned due to the potential to contaminate the Town of Montpelier's water which comes from Berlin Pond.  The Petition states that ice shanties should be banned because of the ability to conceal illicit or terrorist activities.  This justification is perhaps the most far fetched reason for a restriction that I've heard in my 13 years as Executive Director of Vermont Traditions Coalition.
Note that there is also an opportunity for Written Public Comment between now and November 30.
Here's the information VTC received from the state this afternoon:
Yes, there is a public meeting tonight to hear comments on the City of Montpelier's petition at 6pm at the Berlin Elementary School Library, 372 Paine Turnpike North, Berlin, Vermont.  You can find the notice on our website here:
We will be receiving written comments until November 30, 2013 so there will be plenty of time to get us your comments if you have a conflict with tonight's meeting.  Thanks for contacting me for clarification, Steve.
End State Statement
Steve McLeod, Executive Director
Vermont Traditions Coalition

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hunters Spend $292 Million in Vermont

                                     VERMONT FISH and WILDLIFE
Press Release
For Immediate Release:  November 6, 2013
Media Contact:  Commissioner Patrick Berry, 802-828-1000
Hunters Spend $292 Million in Vermont
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that hunters contribute significantly to the state's economy and spend more than $292 million in Vermont annually, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau.
"More than $39 million is spent on travel, such as dining, lodging, transportation, and similar expenses," says Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry.  "Another $190 million is spent on equipment, and more than $62 million is spent on other items."
"Hunting is economically important not just because of its total economic impact," said Berry, "but also because so much of it occurs after foliage season and before skiing, and the spending takes place throughout the state, including in our most rural areas."
In 2012, more than 74,000 people purchased Vermont hunting licenses, including 64,589 residents and 9,428 nonresidents.  Deer are the most important species sought by hunters in Vermont, with close to 90 percent of license buyers planning to pursue deer according to the Fish & Wildlife Department. 
The federal survey also shows that Vermont ranks first among the lower 48 states in participation of its residents in wildlife-related recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, with 62 percent of our residents enjoying these resources.  Residents and nonresidents spend $744 million annually in Vermont in pursuit of these activities.
"Vermont isn't Vermont without wildlife and fish. These resources are important to all of us recreationally, socially and economically," said Berry.  "They also contribute greatly to our quality of life.  As hunters continue to enjoy excellent opportunities here in the state, it's good to know that local communities benefit as well."
Editors:  Here is a link to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation --
Caption for attached photo:
VTF&W photo by John Hall
Hunters spend $292 million annually in Vermont, including in our more rural areas, and they do so after foliage tourism ends and before skiing starts. 
John Hall, Outreach Division
[phone]      802-828-1000      [fax]      802-828-1250
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
Montpelier VT 05620