Gun legislation passes House, must get Senate OK

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Gun legislation passes House, must get Senate OK

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:13am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House on Friday approved gun violence protection measures in H675. This bill takes elements of the Senate's S221, which called for the removal of firearms from those individuals considered an "extreme risk." S221 passed unanimously Thursday. The Legislature is in recess this week for Town Meeting Day (Tuesday March 6). H675 must now get Senate approval or go to conference committee. See section as passed by House as amended below.

H675:

  • Puts current practice into law giving the judge discretion to require any individual who is a risk to themselves or others to turn over weapons as of condition of pretrial release.
  • Empowers family members and law enforcement to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a court order temporarily restricting a person’s access to guns when they pose a danger to self or others (commonly called a 'Red Flag' bill).
  • Provides protection to a victim of domestic assault by allowing a law enforcement officer, in certain circumstances, to remove a firearm from the scene if the removal is necessary for the protection of the officer, the victim, or another person.
  • Creates a felony charge for the possession of a firearm on school ground with intent to harm.

“Recent events across the country and in our own communities in Vermont have heightened the awareness of threats against our schools, our children, and our educators,” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “The State House was packed this week with middle and high school students, educators, and Vermonters concerned about gun violence. Support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with protecting Vermonters and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We heard the call for action from Vermonters and took a strong step forward today with the gun violence prevention bill. This is a step in the right direction that will make a difference for Vermont school children and families, and will save lives. The Senate took action on a similar bill and other gun violence prevention legislation this week. We look forward to working with them, and with the Governor to see comprehensive gun violence legislation pass in the coming weeks.”

“I’m proud of the strong approach the House took on gun violence this week,” added House Judiciary Chair, Representative Maxine Grad. “Last year, we passed a bill, H.422 that allows a cooling-off period after a citation or charge of domestic violence. We added this provision to new legislation, H.675 to strengthen the comprehensive gun violence package that will enhance safety in our schools and communities, and give law enforcement the tools that they need to address violent situations.”

Bill Amended; Read Third Time; Bill Passed
H. 675

(words in parentheses were struck)

House bill, entitled
An act relating to conditions of release prior to trial
Was taken up and pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Willhoit of St. Johnsbury moved to amend the bill as follows:
Sec. 1d. 13 V.S.A. § 4004 is amended to read:
§ 4004. POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS OR DEADLY WEAPON IN A
SCHOOL BUS OR SCHOOL BUILDING OR ON SCHOOL
PROPERTY
(a) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly
weapon while within a school building or on a school bus. A person who
violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned not more than
one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or
subsequent offense shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not
more than $5,000.00, or both.

(b) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly
weapon on any school property with the intent to injure another person. A
person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned not
more than (two) three years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a
second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned not more than (three) five
years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(c) This section shall not apply to:
(1) A law enforcement officer while engaged in law enforcement duties.
(2) Possession and use of firearms or dangerous or deadly weapons if
the board of school directors, or the superintendent or principal if delegated
authority to do so by the board, authorizes possession or use for specific
occasions or for instructional or other specific purposes.

(d) As used in this section:
(1) “School property” means any property owned by a school, including
motor vehicles.
(2) “Owned by the school” means owned, leased, controlled, or
subcontracted by the school.
(3) “Dangerous or deadly weapon” has the same meaning (defined) as set
forth
in section 4016 of this title.
(4) “Firearm” has the same meaning (defined) as set forth in section 4016
of this title.
(5) “Law enforcement officer” has the same meaning (defined) as set
forth
in section 4016 of this title.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not limit or restrict any prosecution
for any other offense, including simple assault or aggravated assault.
Which was agreed to. Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and
passed.

Source: Speaker of the House 3.2.2018