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March 30, 2018

Montpelier, Vt. –  Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement on S.55, S.221 and H.422:

“Vermont is currently one of the healthiest and safest states in America. However, as tragedies in Florida, Las Vegas, Newtown and elsewhere—as well as the averted plot to shoot up Fair Haven High School—have demonstrated, no state is immune to the risk of extreme violence.

“As Governor, I have a moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens. If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?

“That’s why I put forward an action plan last month with steps to better ensure the safety and well-being of all Vermonters. My proposals included enhancing school safety, identifying and addressing root causes of violence and developing avenues for open conversations about gun safety, while preserving our Constitutional rights.

“I thank the Legislature for responding to my request to act, moving forward on bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

“As I’ve said, I strongly support the second amendment and all Constitutional rights. I support S.55, S.221 and H.422 because I believe these bills uphold these rights, while taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of violence.

“I want to be clear, however, that more must be done to address the underlying causes of violence. We must redouble our efforts to strengthen our mental health care system, continue to combat opiate addiction, be better role models, reduce political polarization and treat all people with dignity and respect, as well as working to ensure every family has the hope that economic opportunity provides. These are essential to reducing violence in our state and our nation.

“It’s now time to work together to strengthen our communities and families – because better regulating guns to reduce violence in our society isn’t the complete answer.”