MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s Republican governor vetoed legislation Monday that would have established a 24-hour waiting period to buy handguns, about a year after the state imposed its first significant gun ownership restrictions following what police say was a near-miss school shooting.
Last month, as the Legislature was giving final approval to the bill, Gov. Phil Scott said he hadn’t made up his mind about whether he would sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.
The legislation was delivered to him last week, giving him five days to decide.
Last year, Scott, a gun owner, who had previously said he felt Vermont’s gun laws were sufficient, changed his mind and signed restrictions into law.
The move came after police arrested a teenager the day after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that left 17 people dead. Police said they stopped Jack Sawyer’s planned shooting at Fair Haven Union High School.
Scott invoked that move in explaining his veto Monday.
“Last year, I called for and signed a package of historic gun safety reforms because I believe they make schools, communities, families and individuals safer, while upholding Vermonters’ constitutional rights,” he said.
“With these measures in place, we must now prioritize strategies that address the underlying causes of violence and suicide. I do not believe S.169 addresses these areas,” he added, referring to the waiting-period bill by its official number.
Proponents say the legislation would have helped save lives by people who are considering taking their own lives with firearms because they won’t be able to get them as quickly. It was also hoped it would prevent homicides.
Opponents say the legislation would have further infringed on gun owners’ rights, which are guaranteed by the constitutions of both the United States and Vermont and it won’t accomplish the desired goal
When Scott signed last year’s gun restrictions, he was in front of a crowd of supporters and people who were calling him a traitor.