North Country News
6:30 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Abuser Gun Storage Addressed

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wants to make it harder for domestic violence abusers to obtain confiscated weapons with proposals to help law enforcement store those firearms.

Under federal law, people subject to relief-from-abuse orders cannot possess firearms. Governor Peter Shumlin is promoting legislative changes to guarantee secure lock-up of confiscated weapons across Vermont. Washington County Sheriff Sam Hill serves on the Vermont Domestic Violence Task Force and the Domestic Violence Death Fatality Review Commission. Hill notes that part of the problem is that the smaller departments in Vermont do not have the storage capacity needed to deal with the firearms that are being collected.
 
During the last legislative session, Vermont House Representative Democrat Linda Waite-Simpson of Essex Junction was unsuccessful in her efforts to pass legislation that would have created a repository for the confiscated firearms.

Waite-Simpson says the governor’s proposal includes a loan fund for sheriffs that may need to find or renovate spaces.

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Executive Director Karen Tronsgard-Scott notes that data from other states with policies for storage of confiscated firearms indicate a substantial reduction in domestic violence homicide rates.

The Shumlin administration wants to create a $75,000 revolving loan fund to assist with formation of the storage facilities.  Revenues from storage fees and sales of the guns if the fees are not paid would be used to repay the loans.

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