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Taking Aim: The New Senate Gun Bill

Senate Bill 31 proposes changes in the state's gun laws, including expanding background checks to include private sales.

In 2013 Senator Phillip Baruth introduced a bill that would have prohibited the manufacture or sale of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault weapons. A week later, he backed off the bill citing a lack of support among his colleagues and mounting opposition from outside the Statehouse.
Now Baruth has been joined by Senators John Campbell and Claire Ayer in introducing Senate Bill 31. The bill would prohibit a person convicted of a violent crime from possessing a firearm, expend background checks to include private sales and require courts to report individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System when they were determined to be a danger to themselves or others and when someone is found incompetent for trial due to a mental illness.

We discuss S.31 with Ann Braden, president of Gun Sense Vermont and a supporter of the bill, and Chris Bradley, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and an opponent of the bill.

Post your questions or comments on the proposed bill here or email them to vermontedition@vpr.net.

Also on the program, Hilary Niles, a data journalism consultant and award-winning researcher, and VPR's Taylor Dobbs investigated the $1 billion of tax breaks the state allows each year. Niles fills us in on the areas where the state allows these "tax expenditures."

Broadcast live on Wed., Feb. 11, 2015 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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