MONTPELIER, Vt. (CN) – Vermont’s Republican governor signed three unprecedented bills Wednesday afternoon to tighten the state’s gun laws.
Gov. Phil Scott signed the bills in a ceremony outside the Montpelier Statehouse, making them the first significant gun restrictions in the state’s history.
The new laws, which take effect Oct. 1, require universal background checks, raise the age of purchase from 18 to 25, and make it easier to take guns away from people who pose a threat to themselves and others.
Though resolved in his position, the first-term governor noted dismay that it has drawn backlash from some former supporters as well as gun-rights activists.
A gun owner himself, Scott has threats both online and in his local supermarket over his support of the legislation.
“This doesn’t take anything away, from my perspective, and doesn’t infringe on the Second Amendment whatsoever,” Scott said.
“At least understand what position I’m in,” Scott added. “The responsibility I feel for our citizens, the responsibility as governor to protect our citizens is enormous.”
Scott’s push for gun reform follows the arrest earlier this year of 18-year-old Jack Sawyer on charges that he plotted to carry out a mass shooting at Fair Haven Union High School, where Sawyer had been a student.