Gov. Phil Scott devoted a Wednesday morning press conference to explaining his decisions on two major pieces of legislation: the veto of S.169, which would have required a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, and the signing of H.57, which establishes abortion rights in state law. Both actions were announced in a written statement Monday evening.
Scott said he moved the presser from Thursday to Wednesday because he'd gotten so many requests for further comment.
Scott also revealed that his Community Violence Prevention Task Force had submitted its initial recommendations last week, and acknowledged that they included "further gun safety measures, which I will take a serious look at." He declined to release any details until he has had a chance to review them in detail.
Scott asserted that there is no evidence that S.169 would save lives or reduce instances of gun violence — but he couched that statement as narrowly as possible.
"There are no comparisons to a 24-hour waiting period on handguns alone," he said. "There are no apples to apples comparisons."
He refused to say whether he thought a longer waiting period, or a bill that included all firearms, would be more effective. Scott repeatedly emphasized that he had no evidence concerning the specific case of a "24-hour waiting period on handguns alone."
"I understand their disappointment, their anger, the grief, the pain," Scott said. "I accept that. They have their opinion. The veto wasn't based strictly on their standpoint, but I understand it."
He added that he would be happy to meet in person with the Blacks if they request such a meeting.
On the signing of H.57, he called it an "important" statement at a time when other states are moving in the opposite direction on abortion rights. When asked if he could have made a stronger statement by signing the bill in a public ceremony, Scott cited time restrictions.
"We received a number of bills all at once," the governor said. "We got about 15 bills in two days. There's not enough time to put a public signing together."