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VICTORY FOR GUN SAFETY: Vermont Governor Phil Scott Allows Bill to Prohibit Unserialized Ghost Guns to Become Law; Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Respond 

May 28, 2024

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to Vermont Governor Phil Scott allowing S. 209 to become law without his signature. S.209 is a lifesaving measure that will help cut off the flow of unserialized, untraceable “ghost guns” into Vermont and will also prohibit firearms at polling places, which is critical to ensuring that all Vermont voters are able to cast their ballots free from armed intimidation. Today’s victory comes after the measure passed through both chambers of the legislature with bipartisan support. 

“Today is a victory for gun safety and another example of the bipartisan progress we can make in Vermont to protect our communities,” said Pat Byrd, a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful for the leadership of Chairs Sears and Lalonde and our gun sense champions in both chambers who worked tirelessly to see this bill become law. Our lawmakers have demonstrated that they will put our safety first, and we look forward to building on this progress for years to come.” 

“My generation has grown up with worsening gun violence, so I’m grateful to our lawmakers who worked together this session to address one of the most pressing public safety issues facing our country: DIY ghost guns,” said Ava Schneider, a volunteer with the Essex High School chapter of Students Demand Action. “We’ve been at the statehouse this year working tirelessly to support this bill because we know that if you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t have access to a firearm. Today’s victory is an example of the bipartisan progress that can be achieved to keep our communities safe – and we look forward to building on it next year. 

Now that S.209 has become law, Vermont is the 14th state in the country to regulate ghost guns, joining nearby states including Connecticut and Rhode Island. Ghost guns are unserialized, do-it-yourself, homemade guns, often assembled from readily available components or using 3-D printing technology that can be acquired without a background check. For this reason, they are particularly attractive to criminals, gun traffickers, and others legally prohibited from buying firearms; ghost guns represent one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing the United States right now. Without serial numbers, these firearms often deprive law enforcement officers of a vital means of solving gun crimes. 

Ahead of the 2024 elections, S.209 also includes a lifesaving provision to protect voters from intimidation at the polls by prohibiting firearms from polling locations. 

In an average year, 78 people die and 52 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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