Vermont Lawmakers Attempt to Suspend Gun Rights and Ban 'High Capacity' Magazines


“Emotion is a terrible substitute for truth.” That’s how Mike Huckabee recently summarized the push for questionable gun control legislation that’s sweeping the nation — and it looks like yet another state has just chosen emotion over reason.

This week, the state of Vermont moved one step closer to enacting several firearms restrictions as a response to the Parkland school shooting… but it’s unlikely that the measures will do anything to actually stop crime.

“Lawmakers voted 89-54 to pass legislation that would raise the legal age for gun purchases, expand background checks for private gun sales and ban high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices known as bump stocks,” reported The Associated Press.

The bill still must pass in the state Senate, however it is almost certain that this will happen. Under the proposal, it would be illegal for adults between the ages of 18 and 21 to purchase a gun.

Standard-capacity magazines — though the bill calls them “high capacity” — would also become illegal. Those are defined as a magazine of over 10 rounds in a rifle, and 15 rounds in a handgun.

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Considering that it’s very common for sporting rifles to have magazines with more than a 10 round capacity, these California-style restrictions would apply to perhaps thousands of previously legal firearms in Vermont.

Here’s the big problem: Even the state’s attorney general admits that the new law would be borderline unenforceable, and would largely be an inconvenience to lawful citizens but not criminals. Yes, it’s another case of “pass something to look good, while fixing nothing.”

“The legislation would not ban the possession of high-capacity magazines that are already in circulation in Vermont,” explained Vermont Public Radio.

That’s right: If somebody already owns so-called high capacity magazines in the state, they would continue to be legal but cannot be bought or sold. And how does the state enforce this essentially useless law? They basically don’t.

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“Attorney General TJ Donovan says that could make enforcement of the magazine ban complicated since police won’t necessarily know whether a high-capacity magazine was obtained before or after the ban went into effect,” continued VPR.

In other words, lawmakers are crossing their fingers and hoping that criminals won’t, er, bring in the exact same magazines from other states and claim they’re pre-ban, or simply shrug off the new restrictions and just purchase the common plastic magazines on the gray market.

If only we could pass a law making it illegal to break the law, all these problems would be solved!

It gets even more ridiculous. As if to prove just how silly and useless this legislation is, the bill also contains a provision that permits high-capacity magazines to still be made in Vermont!

“(T)hey can be made there and then exported from the state,” stated WNYT News. “That exemption was made to avoid jeopardizing hundreds of jobs at the Century International Arms factory in Franklin County.”

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You read that right: High-capacity magazines would still be built in Vermont — we wouldn’t want any constituents complaining to Democrats about factories closing — yet those same products would become instantly illegal if they’re sold in-state, due to legislation that even the attorney general says can’t really be enforced.

Again: Emotion over logic.

As a perfect example of how daft and misinformed the supporters of this legislation are, here’s a direct quote from a Vermont resident who agreed with the ban:

“I don’t think anybody – why do you need a magazine gun?” resident Cheryl Angelides said, presumably clutching her pearls and wringing her hands. “You’re not fighting like overseas. So why would you need it?” she continued, according to WNYT.

What is “a magazine gun,” you ask? We have no idea. Perhaps it’s a newfangled invention to launch copies of Vogue and National Geographic at avid readers.

Regardless, it’s extremely clear that this bill and others like it are meant to look like lawmakers are doing something, make uninformed citizens feel like something is changing, while doing next to nothing to actually stop the next mass shooter.

Making it impossible for law-abiding 20 year old adults to defend their families and demonizing a piece of plastic that can hold 10 but not 15 rounds is not the answer to preventing violent crime.

It’s time to call out politicians who posture and pass do-nothing laws, all while slowly chipping away at the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.