Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

VERMONT DEBATES NEW GUN CONTROLS [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

VERMONT DEBATES NEW GUN CONTROLS [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

VERMONT DEBATES NEW GUN CONTROLS

MONTPELIER, Vt. - One of the most liberal states in the country also is one of the most passionate about defending the right to bear arms, a fact that is coming to the fore following proposed legislation to expand background checks and add other gun regulations.

Hundreds of Vermont residents are expected to pack the state House chamber for a public hearing tonight on Senate Bill 31, which would expand background checks from retail to private gun sales, step up reporting about people deemed psychologically unfit to have a gun and add state jurisdiction to what is now just federal enforcement of the ban on convicted felons possessing guns.

The bill has drawn strong opposition from powerful gun-rights groups and from Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat and lifelong hunter.

Why the Second Amendment fervor in a state that Election Day exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and other media have found to be among the most liberal?

"I think it's a result of years and years of Vermonters respecting guns as a tool to manage wildlife and to put food on the table," Mr. Shumlin said in an interview. "That's what motivates us to own a gun. It's not necessarily what motivates someone who lives in Manhattan to own a gun."

Whether people grew up in a hunting family as he did "really influences how you look at this," the governor added.

Hunters have nothing to worry about, said Ann Braden of Brattleboro, president of the group Gun Sense Vermont, which supports the measure.

"This legislation doesn't affect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. It's focused exclusively on keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers, violent felons, and drug traffickers," she said.

MAN CHARGED IN VA. STUDENT'S DEATH

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The man already charged with the abduction of a University of Virginia student who was missing for weeks before her body was discovered has been indicted on a count of first-degree murder in the case, law enforcement officials said today.

Jesse Matthew Jr., 33, was indicted on the murder charge Monday, Albemarle County prosecutor Denise Lunsford said at a news conference. …

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