Students Demand Action Volunteers Called on Lawmakers to Pass Legislation to Require Secure Storage of Firearms, Expand Eligible Petitioners for Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and Create a 72-Hour Waiting Period for Firearm Transfers
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Today, the Vermont chapter of Students Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, gathered at the State House to meet with lawmakers and advocate for gun safety measures to be passed and implemented during this legislative session. Volunteers applauded lawmakers in the House for passing H.230 today — a life-saving bill that includes multiple gun safety policies that would reduce children’s access to firearms and help prevent gun suicide — and called on their State Senators to follow suit.
“We’re fired up to be at the capitol today, urging our lawmakers to take life-saving action on gun safety,” said Maddie Ahmadi, a volunteer with the Students Demand Action in Vermont. “We are especially thankful for Speaker Krowinski, Chairs Lalonde and Houghton, Representative Black, and all the other lawmakers in the House who responded to the needs of our communities by passing H.230. We know that there is much more to be done, and we are ready to work with lawmakers in the Senate to get this bill across the finish line.”
H.230 includes multiple gun safety policies that would reduce children’s access to firearms and help prevent gun suicide including:
- Requiring gun owners to securely store their firearms if a child or person legally prohibited from possessing guns is likely to gain access to them. Currently, Vermont is the only state in New England without some form of firearm storage law.
- Expanding eligible petitioners under Vermont’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law to include family and household members. Currently, Vermont’s ERPO law only permits the Attorney General or a States’ Attorney to petition the court for an order, making Vermont one of only five states with an ERPO law that does not permit family and household members to directly petition courts.
- Creating a 72-hour waiting period for firearm transfers. Waiting period laws create a buffer between temporary suicidal ideation and firearm access, which can be the difference between life and death. They are associated with reduced suicide rates in states that have them.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, there were 142 suicide deaths among Vermont residents in 2021 – the largest number and highest rate of suicide deaths ever recorded in Vermont. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the state, and the rate of suicide increased by 16 percent from 2020 to 2021. And in 2020, 91% of firearm deaths were suicides. Access to firearms is tied to elevated suicide risk, as studies show that access to a gun triples a person’s risk of death by suicide.
To speak to a local volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.