by State Rep. Mike Yantachka
I was privileged to witness the bill-signing ceremony on the front steps of the Vermont Statehouse on Wednesday, April 11, for three pieces of legislation: S.55, a universal background check bill; H.422, a domestic violence bill; and S.221, a “red flag” bill.
These bills impose regulations on gun sales, prohibit certain gun accessories, and provide law enforcement with the authority to confiscate guns when responding to domestic violence incidents and under court order from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.
Gov. Phil Scott, accompanied by his wife, stood at a podium before news cameras, legislators, and members of the public, both for and against the action he was about to take.
He began his speech over the shouting of opponents, speaking carefully, deliberately and directly to those in front of him. Despite constant interruption by opponents, he spoke of the events and reasons for his decision to change his position regarding gun regulation in Vermont.
At one point, Gov. Scott said, “I understand I may lose support over my decision to sign these bills today, but those are consequences I’m prepared to live with.”
I commend Gov. Scott for his courage in taking this position. He is correct in saying that “public safety is the top priority of any government.”
It is my hope that the governor and the Legislature will continue to work collaboratively together on the many challenges facing Vermont to achieve results that benefit Vermont and Vermonters.
State Rep. Rep. Mike Yantachka, a Democrat, represents Charlotte in the Vermont House of Representatives.