Here’s a completely unsurprising bit of news

According to the Valley News, Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell is waving the white flag on legislation that would expand background checks for gun purchases. Campbell is the chief sponsor of the gun bill; he promises to continue fighting for two other provisions: one would create a state crime for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the other would restrict access to guns for those declared mentally ill by a court.

The background check provision had been the chief battleground — although now that it’s seemingly off the table, the Orange Vest Brigade is stepping up its attacks on the other two items.

The news is unsurprising because (a) Senate Judiciary Committee panjandrum Dick Sears said earlier this week that the background-check provision would not pass his committee, and (b) I don’t believe Campbell ever intended the bill to pass.

Call me cynical, but I’ve seen too much of John Campbell to believe he was ever serious about background checks. He’s never been visibly pro-gun regulation, he never stakes out politically risky positions, and he rarely takes the lead role on any legislation.

I’d go so far as to speculate that he made himself lead sponsor so he could pull the bill when it became politically expedient.

In vowing to fight on for the rest of the bill, Campbell portrayed himself as a Profile In Courage:

“I’ve been told that my political career’s over because of this, and I’m more than happy to deal with that, but that’s how important it is.”

Good God, what a blowhard. His political career will survive this just fine. For one thing, he represents a completely safe Democratic district; he’ll be a Senator as long as he wants to be. For another, the two remaining provisions simply aren’t that big a deal. Nobody’s going to do an over-the-top charge into No Man’s Land for those two items.

He’s talking tough right now, but I suspect that Campbell has another white flag in his back pocket, ready to wave at the proper time.

4 thoughts on “Here’s a completely unsurprising bit of news

  1. waltermoses

    Maybe Mr. Campbell won’t be around Montpelier as long as you think. You have kind of described the senator as a dud as far as working for VT is concerned. “Rarely takes a lead role in any legislation” , makes you wonder if he earns his money or is putting in his time.

  2. kestrel9000 (@kestrel9000)

    “His political career will survive this just fine.” Not if we can help it. All three of those people wasted valuable time and energy into supporting Michael Bloomberg’s agenda and cronies, and a political invoice will indeed come due.

  3. Victoria Heisner

    Don’t count on the other two provisions of S.31 being accepted. VT is having huge budget problems right now, and we do not need to take on extra expenses that the Feds are currently covering. Also, VT does not have a method of restoring rights to felons since, under VT law, they don’t actually lose their rights. So, this would be an unprecedented move.

    S.31 also redefines non-violent drug convicts into violent felons. A dishonest bit of rewriting of the laws.

    VT has a long history of respecting the privacy of the mentally ill. Plus, once somebody gets in NICS for being mentally defective, it would be impossible to find a psychiatrist who would go on record attesting to the safety of the person so they could be taken off when their crisis has ended.

    The background check part of S.31 was the worst, but the other two parts are bad too.

    It’s nice to see that Sen Campbell had no intention of passing the bill and will soon pull the whole thing.


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