March 31 (UPI) — Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott said he will sign into law three bills that contain gun control measures.
A bill passed by the state’s legislature on Friday expands background checks, bans bump stocks, and raises the age for people to buy guns to 21. Law enforcement, military personnel and people who have taken a hunter safety course are exempt from the age restriction. It also sets limits of no more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a long gun and no more than 15 rounds for a hand gun.
Earlier this month, Florida’s governor signed a bill into law that raised the legal age to buy a rifle and banned bump stocks, which are attachments that increase a gun’s firing rate
Scott told reporters Friday that people, including some of his past supporters, may be disappointed with his decision to sign the bill into law.
But Scott said the decision was the right one for his state.
“Vermont is currently one of the healthiest and safest states in America,” Scott said in an official statement. “However, as tragedies in Florida, Las Vegas, Newtown and elsewhere — as well as the averted plot to shoot up Fair Haven High School — have demonstrated, no state is immune to the risk of extreme violence,” Scott said.
“As Governor, I have a moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens. If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?”
Scott’s position on gun control has shifted since the day after a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead. He told Seven Days, a Vermont-based alternative newspaper, after the Parkland shooting there was no need for new gun control laws.
But after a former student of a Fair Haven, Vt., high school was charged with trying to carry out a mass shooting there, Scott said “everything should be on the table.”
Scott also plans to sign two other bills recently passed by the Vermont legislature. One is a “Red Flag bill,” permitting officers to seize guns from people deemed an “extreme risk” to themselves or others. The other puts a process in place to remove guns from people cited or arrested for domestic assault.