Outside the Barre Fish and Game Club Sunday it was skeet shooting. But inside the club house, members of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen have their sites set on a different target.
"Approximately 100 people showed up, approximately 25 people spoke -- all opposed to the resolution. And the city council not only passed the resolution, they made it worse," said the Federation's Evan Hughes.
Hughes and delegates from roughly 30 sportsmen's clubs, representing over 10-thousand hunters and shooters across Vermont, hope to shoot down Burlington City Council's planned charter change banning semi-automatic assault weapons within city limits. They say they fear it infringes on state law -- the Vermont sportsmen's bill of rights.
"Because that protects firearms possession, sale, transfer, ownership of fishing equipment, hunting equipment, and the activities of hunting, fishing trapping and shooting," Hughes said.
They feel their testimony last Monday, which resulted in a 10 to 3 vote in favor of the charter charge, fell on deaf ears. Burlington Council member Norm Blais, who proposed the charter change, said at last weeks meeting, that a ban could prevent tragedies like the recent one at Sandy Hook Elementary. "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, Connecticut could have said that before Dec. 15th," he said.
Despite that, the federation has plans to continue a positive PR campaign in hopes of preventing the ban. "We've got to show them what they are, how they're used and that they're a lot more prevalent than what legislators or the city council may want to believe," Hughes said.
Hughes said a quick response to the issue of gun control isn't the right path in the long run. "There are so many inter-related and complex issues that there is no simple immediate solution to the problem," he said. "If you want a good quality solution, you're going to have to invest the time into research into what the problems are."
The group hopes educating lawmakers on their point of view will slow down the apparent rush for change.
The state legislature still needs to approve the charter change before it goes to a city-wide vote.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 4:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 20:59:02 GMT
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