There is a movement by Gun Owners of Vermont encouraging towns to declare themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Towns.
In Southern Vermont the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford and Pownal selectboards have adopted the resolution and Gun Owners of Vermont is urging their members to bring the issue up at Town Meeting under other business.
I have received questions from Vermonters in our district about what this means and hope this post will help provide some clarity for my constituents.
Gun Owners of Vermont – sanctuary towns push:
We’ve all heard about the fantastic news of sanctuary counties and towns being organized all throughout the state of Virginia, and GoVT is proud to lead the way here in Vermont. We’re working to get towns organized as a way to let those in Montpelier know we’re not going to stay silent as they keep infringing on our rights!From Gun Owners of Vermont website on Sanctuary Towns
We have language for a resolution, as a petition format so you can gather signatures from your fellow towns-people to present to your select board. We have a “sale’s pitch” you can use to explain this to them and hopefully sway them to see our side of things and adopt the resolution.
The anti-gunners in Montpelier, elected officials and lobbyists alike, all need to be told their ideas and laws infringing on our natural rights aren’t going to be tolerated. To that end, this November we need to clean them out of there. The sanctuary town movement is designed to rally gun owners and freedom lovers to the action of this cause, in defense of Freedom and Unity.
Sanctuary resolution with sig lines.
What is a non-binding resolution
A non-binding resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body that cannot progress into a law. Non-binding resolutions can be used by one deliberative body to express an opinion about the actions of another deliberative body.
For instance, in 2016 I led a successful effort to have the Vermont House of Representatives House pass a non-binding resolution urging the Rural Utilities Service to: (1) conduct a comprehensive financial and performance audit of the grant and loan that it awarded to the Vermont Telephone Company (VTel), including a finding related to the number of the 33,000 unserved households that remain unserved; and (2) require the Vermont Telephone Company to construct the three unbuilt towers or provide equivalent service to those areas that the towers would have served. In that case, the Vermont House encouraged the federal government to look more closely into whether or not a project they funded was working and had been completed. The Vermont House did not have the power to make the federal government investigate its programs, but adopting the resolution told our two federal Senators and our Congressman that Vermont state legislators thought there was a problem that needed to be looked in to.
The Gun Owners of Vermont Sanctuary Town resolutions say that “per Marbury v Madison 5 US 137 (1803), this township hereby declares all federal and state laws and regulations attempting to restrict these rights to be infringements, hence null and void under this resolution.”
What does U.S. Supreme Court say
Marbury v. Madison was a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1803 that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts are able to strike down laws, statutes, and some government actions that violate the Constitution of the United States. The Court’s decision established that the U.S. Constitution is actual “law” and helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of American government.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the American right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. As the Court made clear in Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2008 majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
I encourage, appreciate and support actions taken by citizens to communicate as clearly as possible to elected town, state and federal officials about their beliefs and priorities in support or opposition to any number of issues. Non-binding resolutions are a frequently used means by citizens of expressing a priority or concern.
Nonetheless, I am concerned that the language in this particular resolution that “declares all federal and state laws and regulations attempting to restrict these rights to be infringements, hence null and void under this resolution” undermines the actual rule of law, encourages distrust of law enforcement and may keep Vermonters who are concerned about an individual trying to hurt others from reporting that concern to law enforcement.
More on The Supreme Court & The Second Amendment from the Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
For your consideration…
Selectboard members considering the resolution at their meetings or voters at Town Meeting could ask for a change to the resolution language urging federal and state lawmakers towards an action or inaction as opposed to declaring state and federal laws null. The clear communication to elected town, state and federal officials about beliefs and priorities is maintained without undermining the law, encouraging distrust of law enforcement or confusing Vermonters who are concerned about an individual trying to hurt others about whether or not to report that concern to law enforcement.
A few articles on the 2A Sanctuary movement
- ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ effort seeks Vermont support VTDigger
- The rising threat of ‘gun sanctuaries’ – Boston Globe editorial
- Virginia’s Second Amendment Sanctuaries: An Update National Review
Vermont Firearms and Domestic Violence Public Hearing
For all who wish to weigh in on Gun Legislation currently under consideration in Vermont: Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 5:00–7:00 p.m., State House, Montpelier The Vermont Legislature will hold a public hearing on H.610, Firearms and Domestic Violence, on February 18, 2020. The hearing will be held at the State House in Montpelier from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The hearing is being held by the House Committee on Judiciary.
The hearing will be held in the House Chamber. Witnesses may start signing up to speak at 4:00 p.m. Witness testimonies are limited to two minutes. The Committee will also accept written testimony. People who wish to testify must sign up. Those who wish to speak IN FAVOR of the bill must enter through the door at the WEST end of the State House (when facing the building from the front, the LEFT end). Those who wish to speak IN OPPOSITION to the bill must enter through the door at the EAST end of the State House (when facing the building from the front, the RIGHT end).
For information about the format of this event or to submit written testimony, contact the House Committee on Judiciary at 802-828-2257 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you plan to attend and need accommodations to participate, please contact the Sergeant at Arms at 802-828-2228 by February 14, so that any accommodations can be made in advance.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or email@example.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham