Burlington City Council approves gun ban - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington City Council approves gun ban

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A passionate crowd - many in blaze orange - packed City Hall Monday night. Most of whom were there to voice concern and contest the proposed change to the city charter.

"It's not really good to pass feel good legislations," said one gun rights advocate to the city council.

The proposed amendment banning semi-automatic assault weapons and multiple ammunition clips came from Norm Blais, (D-Burlington City Council) in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"To those people who say we don't need this legislation in Burlington because nothing like this has ever happened here before, well the people of Newtown, Conn. could have said that before Dec. 15th," Blais said.

But at least one crowd member says emotions shouldn't cloud lawmaking judgment.

"I think it's a dangerous course to let emotions get into the driver's seat when writing legislation that could potentially infringe on constitutional rights," said Matt Storer, a member of the public in attendance.

And he wasn't the only one concerned with the Constitution. Applause echoed almost every speaker who mentioned the 2nd amendment.

Renee Robyor, another resident who spoke during public comment added, "This council has failed to recognize the right to keep arms omitting this right from the proposed charter change."

Another common theme among the dozens who addressed the council -- the need not to take away the guns -- but to focus on the mental health of those who may potentially pull a trigger.

Speaking of his training as a school teacher, Morgan Lamphere said, "We have come to understand that better mental health programs for children thru adult services will be the only way to help our society."

Still, Vermont is one of the most lenient states when it comes to gun laws -- some council members say it's better to look at what they can do in the short term like increase school safety, rather than try to challenge state law.

"To pass a law or to send a charter change that's ultimately probably going to do nothing, that Montpelier will not sign off on is a futile exercise," added Paul Decelles, (R-Burlington City Council.)

The amendment passed 10-3, but still has a long way to go before it could possibly go into effect. It must go into committee, eventually be voted on by the public, and then sent before the legislature in Montpelier.

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