Sea of Orange, Statehouse Rally 022015

A sea of orange. Opponents to S.31 gun legislation pack statehouse. (Credit: J.D. Thomason)

MONTPELIER—On Tuesday, February 10, over four-hundred Vermonters turned-out to make their feelings known about Bill No. S.31 proposed by Democratic Senate leaders — including President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor, Majority Leader Phil Baruth, D-Chittenden and Assistant Leader Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison — adding new restrictions to Vermont’s existing gun laws.

Between 40-60 members of Gun Sense Vermont, an organization formed in 2013 after the massacre at Sandy Hook, arrived wearing green to express their support for the proposed legislation. Those opposed to the legislation, numbering over 400, wore blaze orange and packed the Statehouse. The Statehouse floor and balcony overflowed with opponents to the legislation, additional rooms were opened. Those rooms were soon filled too and the Statehouse cafeteria was reopened and televisions were set-up so those moved into additional rooms were able to watch the proceedings.

While those opposed to the legislation far outnumbered Gun Sense activists, testimony was alternated between supporters of the legislation and opponents. 43 signed-up to speak in favor of S.31—none of whom were from Franklin County. 65 signed-up to speak against S. 31 including members of the VT Police Association, veterans and others—many of whom noted their residence in Franklin County.

By J.D. Thomason