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Survey: A Majority of the Vermont Senate Supports Universal Background Checks

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Vermont Statehouse - FILE
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After years of deadlock and division, a majority of the Vermont Senate now supports legislation to require background checks for all gun sales in the state, according to a survey conducted by Seven Days.

Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Burlington) promised Thursday that the proposal, which died in committee in 2015, would come to a vote next week on the Senate floor — likely as an amendment to related firearm legislation. In interviews around the Statehouse that day, 17 of Vermont's 30 state senators told Seven Days they would definitely vote for the measure, which would close the so-called "gun show loophole."

Six senators said they would vote against it: Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), Brian Collamore (R-Rutland), Alice Nitka (D-Windsor), John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans), Dick Sears (D-Bennington) and Bobby Starr (D-Essex/Orleans).

Five senators said they were undecided. Some of those said that they had not yet read the bill, known in its current form as S.6, or that they wanted to see if there would be other proposals attached to the measure. Those senators included Randy Brock (R-Franklin), Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), David Soucy (R-Rutland) and Richard Westman (R-Lamoille).

Two more said they were leaning in one direction or another but had not made up their minds: Carolyn Branagan (R-Franklin) said she was leaning in favor of the proposal, while Peg Flory (R-Rutland) said she was tentatively opposed.

Here's what senators said when Seven Days asked, “If the language of S.6 is presented for a vote on the floor, would you support it?”

Here's How Vermont's 30 Senators Say They'll Vote on the Universal Background Check Bill

Senator District Party Stance