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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Gun Control Bill Gets Final Approval In Vermont House, Now Off To Senate

Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate would increase the proportion of education resources going to districts with economically disadvantaged students.
Angela Evancie
/
VPR File
House lawmakers gave final approval to a wide-ranging gun bill Tuesday night. The legislation heads now to the Vermont Senate, which is expected to hold a final vote before the end of the week.

The Vermont House of Representatives has given final approval to a slate of new gun restrictions.

The debate on the controversial legislation, called S.55, lasted until nearly 9 p.m. on Tuesday. But the lengthy back and forth did little to change minds — in the end, the outcome of the vote was similar to a preliminary vote on the bill last week.

More from VPR — After Marathon 10-Hour Debate, House Passes Gun Control Bill [March 23]

Supporters of the legislation, like Moretown Rep. Maxine Grad, say the bill is an important public safety measure.

“S.55 addresses school and community safety by ensuring guns remain in the hands of those who should have them,” Grad said Tuesday.

The bill would require background checks for private gun sales, and raise the legal age to purchase a gun to 21. It would also ban the sale or purchase of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, though that provision was amended Tuesday to allow for 15-round magazines for handguns.

Lawmakers also amended the magazine provision to allow for the manufacture of high-capacity magazines, in an attempt to protect jobs at Century Arms, a gun manufacturer in Franklin County.

More from VPR — What's Next For This Gun Control Bill? [March 26]

Berlin Rep. Patti Lewis says the new restrictions on gun ownership infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Vermonters.

“Vermont does not have a gun problem. S.55 is a perceived solution to a perceived problem,” Lewis said.

The legislation passed by an 89-to-54 margin in the House. The Vermont Senate is expected to hold a vote on the bill later this week.

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