In the wake of our nation’s recent string of school shootings and other incidents of gun violence, Congress seems more or less content to do nothing about gun control. That’s not the case in Vermont, where the governor recently signed new laws aimed at preventing anyone plotting a school shooting from attaining a firearm. In addition, courts and law enforcement are now able to take away guns from those deemed to be a threat to others or themselves through the signing of an extreme risk protection order.
Governor Phil Scott, a Republican if you can believe it, signed the series of restrictions into law that included background check requirements, a ban on bump stocks, and age requirements for purchasing a gun. Scott had a change of heart on the issue of gun control, after reportedly reviewing the affidavit in the case of Jack Sawyer, an 18-year-old who allegedly plotted a shooting at Fair Haven Union High School. The new laws allowed a superior court judge to sign an extreme risk protection order on Sawyer, who kept a diary entitled “Journal of an Active Shooter.” Sawyer was blocked from possessing a firearm by one of the new laws.
A local café owner told the Associated Press people are “frustrated” and “scared” by the possibility of Sawyer being released on bail. Meanwhile, the school superintendent has confirmed that they are beefing up security measures, including an increased police presence. Former federal prosecutor Jerry O'Neill notes that Vermont doesn’t have a law that distinguishes an “attempt” as opposed to “a plan,” which creates a “a loophole.”