MONTPELIER, VT. – The Vermont House voted Friday to raise the legal age for gun purchases, expand background checks to private firearms sales and ban high-capacity magazines and devices known as “bump stocks that allow semi-automatic guns to function like automatic guns.
A daylong debate on the gun restriction bill packed the House chambers with supporters and opponents. Final approval of the measure is scheduled for Tuesday.
House lawmakers opted earlier in the day to vote on each of the bill’s provisions separately, after deciding not to delay a vote on the bill.
“The policies in this bill will keep firearms away from those who intend harm and reduce the lethality of firearms that may be misused,” said Democratic Rep. Martin Alone of South Burlington, according to WCAX-TV.
Gun rights groups wanted a public hearing on the bill but House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said there already have been public hearings on the issue at the Statehouse.
“We need to figure this problem out,” said Democratic Rep. Susan Backhauls, of Hartford. “But going after people and their traditions and the way they are law-abiding gun owners and scaring them is not helping. And denigrating them is not helping.”
Under the legislation, the minimum legal age for purchasing guns was raised from 18 to 21, Vermont Public Radio reported.
The bill does not ban semi-automatic assault-style weapons; it bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott said Thursday that lawmakers had done some good work on the bill and said he could see himself supporting a magazine limit depending the details of the provision.
The push for gun control legislation came after Vermont police broke up what they said was a plot by a Poultney teenager to shoot up the Fair Haven Union High School. He was arrested the day after the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17.