NEW HAVEN — Licensed firearms dealer David Pidgeon is happy to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
“No dealer wants to sell a firearm to someone who shouldn’t have it,” he said.
But the owner of Pidgeon’s Gun Shop in New Haven doesn’t think the gun-control bills Gov. Scott signed into law last Wednesday are going to make anyone safer.
The new laws ban accessories that turn guns into military-style weapons; allow police to take guns from citizens in a few specific cases; expands background checks; and places an age limit, with some exceptions, on gun ownership (see “Vermont’s new gun laws” below).
Like other vocal gun owners, Pidgeon thinks these laws violate rights protected by the Second Amendment, which reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Two other area gun dealers declined to talk to the Independent about the new laws.
For his part, many of Pidgeon’s criticisms of the bills transcend Second Amendment complaints and extend to more practical concerns.
“If someone gets their gun taken away but doesn’t get entered into the system right away, they can come in and buy another gun the next day,” he said, referring to H.422, which allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms from individuals cited for domestic assault.
And who is going to keep track of all these confiscated guns, Pidgeon wondered. Law enforcement was already struggling with storage guidelines.
“There are 1,191 guns the state of Vermont has in storage,” he said.
That number, according to Vermont State Police Lt. Garry Scott, is actually closer to 1,400.
An expert on the state’s Firearms Storage Program, which was created in 2014 to manage “the relinquishment and storage of firearms, ammunition and weapons when a court orders such relinquishment as part of a relief from abuse order.” Lt. Scott said the state has 410 weapons stored in a rented vault in Montpelier and an average of maybe 100 weapons in storage at each of the 10 state police barracks.