I am a gun owner, a parent, and a full-time resident of Vermont.
As such, I’m pleased that in the past weeks the Vermont Legislature, with support from our Republican governor, has passed some appropriate and helpful restrictions on firearms and the context in which they are held and transferred.
One of the best aspects of the new legislation is the support for dealing with high risk individuals. This legislation recognizes the strong correlation between gun deaths and domestic violence. A free and armed nation, governed by rule of law, requires the means to disarm those who pose a threat to the public, law enforcement, and emergency services.
The threats against our local public servants Laura Sibelia and John Gannon, who supported the legislation, make clear that taking a stand on some issues carries a risk. It’s tempting as a parent to keep my opinions to myself. But letting public dialogue and policy be suppressed by threat of violence is not what makes America or Vermont great.
My kids, ages 6 and 8, have been on school lockdown within the past couple months and regularly practice lockdown drills at school. Students should feel safe going to school, and a public school should be a free and open community. Reliance on stringent in-school security measures alone—in the absence of measures that keep guns out of dangerous hands—leaves us with a compromised learning environment, and students still remain at risk.
To be clear, I do not oppose the Second Amendment. I respect it along with the rest of the Constitution. Let us remember that the Second Amendment includes the words “well regulated.” The new Vermont laws are within Second Amendment bounds, and serve to protect our equally-valid rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The most durable protection for our rights is to defend and use the process of democracy.
My family thanks the Vermont Legislature for taking this reasonable and courageous step.