The governor of Vermont, who backed changes to the state’s gun laws after what he said was a narrowly averted school shooting, used his credentials as a moderate Republican to urge the nation’s senators to work together to end gun violence. to grab.
In a letter sent to the nation’s 100 senators last week and released Tuesday to The Associated Press, GOP Governor Phil Scott said efforts to reduce gun violence cannot focus on guns alone. The senators, he wrote, will have an opportunity to work together to make a real difference.
Scott wrote the letter, dated June 14, as the Senate worked to finalize the details of a compromise on gun violence. The Democats’ chief negotiator said Tuesday that the senators are on the brink of reaching an agreement on a bipartisan gun violence law.
Scott’s office received several responses from many of the 100 senators, ranging from “extreme gratitude” to acknowledgment of receipt of the letter, spokesman Rebecca Kelley said Tuesday.
“We were surprised and grateful at the amount of responses,” she says.
In his letter, Scott highlighted a 2018 case in which he learned of a plan by an 18-year-old Vermont man who outlined plans for a school shooting in a document called “The Journal of an Active Shooter.” said he wanted to kill more people than the 32 people killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
Scott received the report two days after the shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, which killed 14 students and three teachers. At the time, an obviously shocked gun owner Scott said he hadn’t previously thought changes to Vermont’s gun laws were necessary.
“That afternoon, I made the decision to take action on gun safety, school security, and mental health strategies to protect Vermonters,” he wrote.
In response, the Vermont legislature passed the state’s first major gun restrictions, including raising the age to buy firearms from 18 to 21, requiring universal background checks, and passing the Vermont version of a “red flag” law. . He also highlighted Vermont’s efforts to focus on mental health and school safety measures.
Nearly two months later, Scott signed the new laws on the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier, surrounded by gun-security supporters and their screaming opponents.
While Vermont has a reputation as one of the most liberal states in the country, it also has a long and deep tradition of hunting and gun ownership.
Scott said he has experienced personal threats from across the country and outrage from former supporters and voters.
“But as the number of mass shootings has increased across the country,” Scott said, “I have no doubt that it was the right choice.”