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(114,904 posts)
Thu Jun 16, 2016, 11:54 AM Jun 2016

How I bought an AR-15 in a Five Guys parking lot- and how the governor responded

A stranger handed me an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle Monday afternoon in a South Burlington parking lot. I handed him an envelope stuffed with $500 cash. We filled out no paperwork and completed no background check. He had no idea who I was nor what my intentions were, and he did not ask. Nine minutes after I met the man, I drove away with the sort of weapon used 39 hours earlier to slaughter 49 people in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

In Vermont, home to the nation's most permissive gun laws, everything I did was perfectly legal.


Five hours before I bought the AR-15, I dropped by Burlington's King Street Center, where several of the state's top politicians and law enforcement officials were holding a press conference. Twenty minutes into the event, I asked Gov. Peter Shumlin — Vermont's most powerful and uncompromising gun rights supporter — whether the previous day's massacre had changed his views.

"No, because I believe you need a 50-state solution," the third-term Democrat responded. "If you're going to commit some heinous act, and you can buy the gun in New Hampshire, you're gonna go get it in New Hampshire."

I continued: "But right now in Vermont, any one of us here could walk down the street and get the same gun that was used in this attack, without any kind of background check at all. The person could do that if they have a criminal record, if they have a history of mental illness, or they could be on a terrorist watch list. If someone did that in Vermont, would that—"

The governor interjected.

"Paul, you're as aware of the current law as I am, and it's not quite as simple as you suggested," he said. "But all I can say is: You know where I stand."

Indeed, Shumlin's position has barely budged since the start of the mass-shooting era. Even as he's argued that Vermont should lead the way on labeling genetically modified organisms and limiting carbon emissions, he has cautioned against joining the 18 states that require federal background checks before some or all private gun sales. Last year, he threatened to veto a modest gun-control bill until it was diminished to what he called a "shadow" of its former self.



Ugh. So glad to see Shumlin go.

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(114,904 posts)
3. Evidently you are wrong.
Thu Jun 16, 2016, 12:00 PM
Jun 2016

from the article:

Shortly after the vigil, I met Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo and Deputy Chief Jannine Wright in another parking lot for another gun exchange. This one, too, was perfectly legal.

Outside the department's headquarters, I unlocked my car and opened the trunk. Del Pozo pulled the weapon out of its carrying case and inspected it.

"This is a, uh, AR-15," he announced, holding it in both hands. "This is the civilian version of the military M16 — the nation's assault rifle — used by the infantry in the Marines. This is similar to the weapon I used when I was in the Army National Guard as an infantry officer."

In New York City, where del Pozo had spent much of his career, what I'd done would have been illegal. The chief seemed as if he were still adjusting to Vermont's nearly nonexistent gun laws.


(1,438 posts)
4. But don't miss the point
Thu Jun 16, 2016, 12:01 PM
Jun 2016

about people going to where it is easy to buy guns to skirt the laws in their state.

Didn't a NY politician recently state that many guns found on the streets of NYC were purchased in VT?

liberal N proud

(60,414 posts)
6. But if you sell a car for cash and don't tell the state who you sold to, they will fine you
Thu Jun 16, 2016, 12:22 PM
Jun 2016

I did that once, my mistake was turning in the plates to the DMV.

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