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Following Advocacy from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, Vermont House Votes to Pass Lifesaving Legislation to Prohibit Ghost Guns With Bipartisan Support

April 18, 2024

Legislation Includes a New Provision to Prohibit Firearms At Polling Places Ahead of the 2024 Elections

MONTPELIER, VT – Today, the Vermont chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding the House for voting to pass (S.209) with bipartisan support, a bill that would help cut off the flow of unserialized “ghost guns” into Vermont. Today’s vote follows advocacy from volunteers with Students Demand Action last week in support of this bill. House lawmakers also added a new provision to the bill that would prohibit firearms at polling places, which is critical to ensuring that all Vermont voters are able to cast their ballots free from intimidation by extremists on election day. The bill will go back to the Senate for consideration after it passes through the House.  

“Today is a major step forward for this critical piece of legislation and to stop the spread of homemade, untraceable guns – one of the biggest threats to our safety today,” said Pat Byrd, a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action. “With the 2024 elections fast approaching, we’re also grateful to our lawmakers for taking proactive steps to keep us safe at the polling places this fall. We thank Chair Martin Lalonde and the other members of the House Judiciary Committee for their thoughtful work on this bill, and urge the Senate to send it to Governor Scott’s desk so that it can become law.” 

“It’s beyond encouraging to see lawmakers–on both sides of the aisle–value students’ perspectives on this issue and work together to prohibit ghost guns,” said Jenna Hirschman, a volunteer leader with the Essex High School Students Demand Action chapter. “There’s no reason someone should be able to build a homemade gun with no background check and no serial number. Ghost guns are a huge and growing risk to public safety in the United States and today’s vote brings us one step closer to making sure they can’t be used to harm our communities.”

Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing the United States, as loopholes in federal and state law have allowed convicted felons, violent domestic abusers, and other people who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms to avoid a background check and access these untraceable, do-it-yourself guns. In the past several years, 13 other states have passed laws to fight against these unserialized weapons, meaning Vermont would be the 14th state to ban these guns should lawmakers pass S.209 into law. 

In an average year, 77 people die and 65 are wounded by guns in Vermont. Gun violence costs Vermont $953.3 million each year, of which $8.7 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Vermont can be found here.

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