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Vermont city may use loophole to push gun control in 2014

It’s against state law to try to regulate guns in the Green Mountain State, but city officials here are looking at what may be a loophole.

Burlington wants to be able to confiscate and secure weapons for up to five days following a domestic dispute, and enact other restrictions.

City Councilman Norm Blais told Vermont Watchdog the council has the authority to pass new city gun regulations because of a single clause — “except as otherwise provided by law” — that proceeds the state law making the firearms regulations illegal in Vermont.

Blais was the first in the city to push for new gun laws after the December 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left 26 people dead, 20 of them children.

“To those people who say we don’t need this legislation in Burlington because nothing like this has ever happened here before, well the people of Newtown, Conn. could have said that before Dec. (14),” Blais said during a City Council meeting earlier this year.

During that meeting, Blais proposed an amendment to Burlington’s charter that would have banned semi-automatic weapons and magazine clips capable of holding multiple rounds. But with that proposal, the Ward 6 councilman unleashed a furious debate that is far from settled.

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