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"an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide”



ALERT! Please contact your representatives and tell them to VOTE NO on H.230.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on anti-gun bill H.230 this week! H.230 originated in the Healthcare Committee as “an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide” and was passed out of that committee after only a few days with minimal testimony from opposing groups. Crafted in secrecy and hidden from gun rights groups till the last minute, this bill ignores ALL other contributing actors to suicide and focuses exclusively on restricting gun ownership.

H.230 proposes to:

1) Impose a “safe storage” requirement where all firearms must be kept locked eparately from ammunition and rendered inoperable when not in one’s direct ossession. This functionally abolishes the right to defend oneself in their own home and does so in direct contradiction to the 2008 Supreme Court case DC v Heller which declared such laws unconstitutional.

2) Allow family and household members to petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) to have firearms confiscated from anyone they think is a threat to themselves or others. These orders can be issued “ex parte” without trial and without even notifying the accused. This means anyone in your household can file a complaint to have your guns taken by the police without due process or even your knowledge that a complaint has been filed.

3) Impose a mandatory 72-hour waiting period on ALL firearm transfers, regardless of whether you already own a firearm, or need to obtain one immediately for the purposes of self-defense.

After it was rammed through the Healthcare Committee, the bill then went to the House Judiciary Committee who heard extensive testimony from Gun Owners of Vermont, The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the office of the Vermont Defender General that the provisions contained in this bill are undoubtedly unconstitutional – especially under the new standard of scrutiny imposed in the recent Supreme Court decision NYSRPA v Bruen.

The majority on the Committee did not seem to care as it was passed on a 7-4 vote with 3 Republicans and one Democrat (a lawyer) voting against it. The bill now heads to the House floor and we need you to contact your Representatives and tell them to vote NO.

Here are the facts:

1) Firearm deaths in Vermont -including suicides- have NOT significantly changed over the last 10 years according to the VT Department of Health.

2) According to the Suicide Prevention Research Center, reducing access to lethal means is the LAST step in preventing suicide, yet guns are the ONLY thing addressed in this bill.

3) The measures proposed in this bill would have little to no affect on suicides in Vermont as the vast majority of suicides with a firearm are committed using a gun that the person already owned.

4) The measures proposed in this bill are blatantly unconstitutional under the 2008 Heller and 2022 Bruen Supreme Court decisions.

5) Your right to immediately obtain and keep a firearm for personal protection is not determined by, or contingent upon the rate of suicide (or anything else for that matter) in Vermont.

It is imperative that every gun owner in the state of Vermont contact their Representatives and tell them to vote NO on H.230 – regardless of how they view gun rights and regardless of how they have voted in the past. Be sure to remain polite and professional but be firm. And if your Rep usually votes against gun control, be sure to thank them for standing with us.

If you are unsure of who your Reps are, you can find them here:

Email them directly or call the Sergeant at Arms at 802-828-2228 and have them leave a message for your Reps to VOTE NO on H.230.

Stay tuned to GoVT for more updates.

In Liberty,

Eric Davis

President, Gun Owners of Vermont.


Gun Owners of Vermont

Since 1997: "No Compromise" is more than a slogan

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Fatal overdoses involving opioids rose again last year in Vermont, reaching their highest point since the state began tracking them more than a decade ago.

There were at least 237 accidental opioid-related overdose deaths in 2022, according to new data released on Monday. That's an increase of 20 over the previous year, which itself was nearly 60 more deaths than 2020. The latest tally could grow in the coming weeks as the Vermont Department of Health reviews another two dozen pending death certificates.

The southern part of the state was hit particularly hard. Rutland, Windsor, Bennington and Windham Counties all reported at least 45 deaths per 100,000 people — higher than the state average of 38. The death rate was highest among people in their thirties and forties.

In an interview on Tuesday, Health Commissioner Mark Levine described the growing death toll as a lingering symptom of the pandemic — "the social isolation involved, and the increase in using drugs alone." And while most people have returned to their normal routines, many fatal overdose victims are still dying inside of their own homes, suggesting there was no one around to save them.

But the surge in deaths is also a symptom of an increasingly dangerous drug supply.

Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, has become the dominant opioid on the streets and is now mixed into all kinds of drugs. Of the 93 percent of fatal overdoses that implicated fentanyl last year, a large number also involved cocaine and methamphetamine. Some users likely had no idea they were ingesting fentanyl-laced drugs.

New hazards have also surfaced. Among them: xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that drug traffickers sometimes add to fentanyl in what's thought to be an attempt to prolong the opioid's effect. The drug causes skin wounds that can lead to amputation if left untreated. It can also induce blackouts. It can resist overdose-reversal drugs such as naloxone.

Postmortem testing shows that 68 people who died in Vermont from fatal overdoses last year had xylazine in their system. That's more than double the figure from 2021, which was far more than the total from previous years.

Health officials are also raising alarms over another contaminant: gabapentin, a common anticonvulsant medication that can amplify the risk of respiratory depression when combined with opioids. After appearing in just one overdose death in the first quarter of 2022, gabapentin was found in the systems of 30 people over the next eight months.

The latest data add urgency to the work of a study committee that’s been asked to recommend how Vermont should spend the more than $100 million headed its way in the coming years as a result of settlements with major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The committee sent its first proposal to lawmakers earlier this month, recommending that the $7.5 million the state has already received be used to bolster several strategies aimed at immediately curbing overdose deaths.

Under the committee’s proposal, $2 million would be used to expand distribution efforts of naloxone, including through new vending machines and public boxes, and $2 million would be used to expand access to opioid addiction medication.

“Seventy-five percent of opioid overdose deaths occur in people with no prior connection with the treatment system,” said Levine, who chairs the study committee. “These people were not finding any other way except at the medical examiner's office.”

Another $2 million would fund the creation of roughly 25 new outreach positions across the state, and roughly $850,000 would be used to expand access to contingency management treatment — an approach that essentially involves offering people rewards such as prepaid debit cards when they meet certain treatment goals. A pilot program under way in Burlington has shown promising results.

Finally, the committee recommends spending $200,000 to expand access to fentanyl testing kits and $100,000 on a pilot program that would bring wound care experts to syringe exchange sites to treat people experiencing adverse skin reactions due to xylazine.

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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Colchester Police arrested two people early Saturday morning for stealing woodchippers.

Around 4:45am Colchester Police say they spotted two men carrying two brand new wood chippers on the sidewalk by the intersection of College Parkway and Ethan Allen Avenue near the Essex / Colchester town line. As officers approached the men, one fled on foot but was quickly located and detained.

The men have been identified as 35-year-old Richard Hammond of Colchester and 49-year-old Daniel Culver of Barre City.

Further investigation revealed the wood chippers had been stolen from Lowe’s. Their combined value was determined to be around $4000. The two men both face charges of grand larceny and are scheduled to appear in court in May.

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