Burlington's gun-ban nonsense
To the Editor:
As an attorney, I can quickly tell you why Burlington's effort (steered by out-of-state interests) to regulate guns is doomed. Huge issues like gun control should and must be decided at the national level -- like cigarette labeling warnings, or abortion. But this legislation is terrible for additional reasons....
Employing simple, old-fashioned Vermont common sense, let us examine the three provisions proposed:
1) limiting guns in bars. Of course, the real problem here is that alcohol and guns don't mix -- so Burlington is going after the guns. This is the same illogic as advocating gun control because of increased heroin and prescription drug abuse; such histrionics avoid the real issues. Lawful gun owners want guns in response to these very problems: for self-defense.
But legally, this effort is tomfoolery: how does a person traveling through Vermont know what Burlington's laws are for its bars? If they miss the sign on the door, they are charged with a crime -- no intent, no violence; just a Second Amendment freedom never questioned in this state before. Burlington seeks to open the door so that each town could have its own unique laws. A patchwork of hell for travelers, for police administration, and for the courts -- it won't stand constitutionally.
2) Locking up guns and ammo. This effort violates the clear law of Heller v. District of Columbia, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that all American citizens have a right to defense in the home. Preventing homeowners from retrieving their weapons for self defense at exactly the time they require defense is illegal. Burlington may as well legislate that all women who have abortions keep the fetus in the freezer for periodic City Hall inspection: they are attacking our gun rights in a worse fashion. This gun provision will not stand -- and who will pay the huge legal tab when the city loses? I for one am tired of politicians spending taxpayer money on lawyers for cases they can't win, to advance their personal careers.
3) Seizing guns in domestic violence cases. This is the Burlington City Counsel's pillar of stupid. Has anybody with an actual brain considered this? Here are just a few problems: Do they seize the woman's guns too? What of due process (seizing guns not ancillary to an arrest)? What if a husband has a huge and valuable gun collection, and his abused wife is fearful now of calling the police because she knows if they seize his guns he'll kill her? -- he's told her so, and he still has a wood chipper. This provision is so unworkable that it can only be that no one with common sense was consulted -- like when they wanted to make it illegal to leave a car running beyond a certain time period, and the police had to explain how unworkable and wasteful that was.
Burlington City Council should listen to its constituents -- Vermonters (all of them, not just the transplants) -- instead of pandering to out-of-staters. You may walk with President Obama and Blustery Bloomberg in the limelight for 15 minutes, but then you still have to live here when they go back to their Orwellian flatland.
Residents of Burlington, please reign in your AWOL council -- they seem not to have observed that they are wearing no clothes, and that your city is going to be synonymous with stupid if any of these provisions pass. You haven't even begun to wake up those of us who value our freedoms -- do you think we will shop in Burlington if you so deliberately insult our Vermont heritage?
And let's pass a law that Burlington pay it's own legal tab over this pathetic "legislation," and not pass its attorneys' bills on to other Vermonters through the scoundrels at Vermont League of Cities and Towns. If Burlington wants to play national hero with Bloomberg and Obama, let Burlington foot the bill as it should, and not make the rest of us subsidize this treason against Vermonters and their rights.