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Friday, May 26, 2006

Mayor Kiss calls for greater gun control

Another controversial issue being addressed by our Burlington mayor...
May 26, 2006

BURLINGTON, Vt. --Mayor Bob Kiss, stepping into sensitive political territory in just his second month in office, responded to a shooting incident in the city by calling for greater gun control.

Kiss distributed to reporters at a news conference to discuss budget issues a news release from the police department about a shooting in the Old North End of the city in which a 22-year-old man was seriously injured by a single gunshot. It was the second such shooting in Burlington this year and Kiss said it demanded his attention.

"I really have concerns in general about handguns and the fact there's maybe more prevalence in the world to the use of violence," Kiss said. "I don't think two events suggest a change, but it's definitely something we all need to pay attention to in our personal lives and in the life of the city. And I think we can do more around the issue of handguns in particular."

Gun control traditionally has been a sensitive issue in Vermont, and there are few restrictions. Kiss said he did not want to project an image that the state or its largest city were a convenient place to buy weapons.

"There's a billboard as you go into Boston now that lists states that contribute to handgun availability in the state of Massachusetts," Kiss said. "And Vermont is on that list for Massachusetts because it has concerns that we don't do as much as we could to control the purchase and availability of guns. In the world at large there's room for Vermont and Burlington to look at the issues of handguns." -- from AP wire


And now from WCAX:

BURLINGTON, Vt. Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss is responding to a shooting incident in the city by calling for greater gun control.

Kiss called a news conference to discuss budget issues.But he opened it by discussing an incident in the city in which a 22-year-old man was seriously injured by a single gunshot.Kiss says he has concerns about handguns and the prevalance of violence.The mayor didn't offer any specific proposals on what might be done, but he says the public and political officials need to pay attention.

If Mayor Kiss doesn't think the two events suggest a change, then why is he even mentioning this issue? Stick to the main reason why the press conference was called - the budget & our increase to taxpayers. I would much rather like to see him working more on the budget (& addressing the future budgetary problems) & repairing the abundant potholes around town, as I believe that is something that should be at the forefront of the administration's agenda.

47 comments:

rowvee said...

By God, if you want my gun you'll have to pry it out my kid's cold dead fingers.

Heavenly said...

There's also an article about the issue by John Briggs at the Free Press today:

Gun control for Burlington?

By John Briggs
Free Press Staff Writer

May 27, 2006
Burlington should begin a discussion about handguns and their easy availability, Mayor Bob Kiss said Friday in light of two recent shootings in the city.

He raised the subject of handguns after a shooting at 2 a.m. Friday in the Old North End that left an unnamed 22-year-old victim hospitalized. An arrest warrant on charges of attempted first-degree murder was issued for Alden Harvey, 21. Police did not release the address of either man, but said the shooting was at the intersection of Monroe and Johnson streets.

Kiss said Friday's shooting, following the shooting death in April of Rhynell Lewis in a LaFountain Street apartment, made clear that handguns contribute to a greater "prevalence in the world to violence. We should all be concerned," he said. "It's definitely on a list of issues in terms of public safety that I want to pay attention to -- a personal list."

Gun control of whatever description is a hot-button issue in Vermont, as it is across the country, but Kiss said it is a responsibility of public officials to begin discussions about "difficult issues," whether in neighborhood groups or in City Council meetings.

"That's all acceptable," he said. "This is a serious issue in the city of Burlington that we ought to talk about." Kiss said he had no specific policy in mind to control handguns and hadn't raised the question yet with other city or state officials.

He said he didn't intend to raise the broad issue of gun control, then added: "But handguns are clearly associated with the event this morning."

Middlebury attorney Cindy Hill, a member of the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of Vermont and the author of the 2005 book, "Gun Owners Guide to Laws of Vermont," said an attempt by Burlington to regulate handguns, even by a change to the city charter, would violate state law.

"The long and the short of it is that municipalities under present law can prohibit the discharge of firearms, but they can't regulate who can possess or carry a firearm," she said.

Ed Cutler, president of the Westminster-based 3,000-member Gun Owners of Vermont, said the group successfully overturned gun-control ordinances in Montpelier and Rutland within the past five years. In both cases, he said, the ordinance had been in effect for years. Both cities "dropped" their ordinance under the threat from the Gun Owners of Vermont to go to court.

If Burlington passed an ordinance limiting gun owners' rights, Cutler said, "we'd take it straight to court, and we'd win."

In the meantime, to avoid such a confrontation, Cutler said, gun group representatives would be happy to travel to Burlington, meet with Kiss, "show him the laws and sit down and try to work something out."

Kiss said the Burlington discussion he envisages "would clarify the powers of the state versus the powers of the municipalities. We need to be able to discuss the subject in terms of public safety and go from there," he said.

Deputy Police Chief Stephen Wark said Kiss has not sought police advice on the idea.

"It's not uncommon for elected officials to talk at high levels about policies, to explore and see if there is public support, and then reach out to department heads for input," he said. "At this point, it's premature and inappropriate for us to comment on any proposed policy change. When the time is right, we're confident he'll seek our input."

Kiss' informal suggestion Friday about handguns is the second time since taking office April 3 that he has opened discussion of a controversial issue.

On May 1, addressing an immigration-rights rally, Kiss suggested that Burlington become a sanctuary for immigrants who enter the country illegally. He didn't define then what he meant by sanctuary, and said the details of any policy would emerge only after extensive public discussions.
Contact John Briggs at 660-1863 or jbriggs@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com.

Anonymous said...

This guy has blown right past being a horrible mayor into "did anyone screen for senility before running him" territory. It's seriously getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

They should require a license to operate a blog.

Did you read the frigging article?

"Kiss said he had no specific policy in mind to control handguns and hadn't raised the question yet with other city or state officials."

Another quote from the article:

He said he didn't intend to raise the broad issue of gun control, then added: "But handguns are clearly associated with the event this morning."

So, where do you get off calling the post "Mayor Kiss calls for greater gun control?" HOw about a little honesty? He stated that handguns are a problem. Are they not a problem?

And the previous post from the genius questioning Kiss' senility must have been made by Kurt Wright. There can't be two people equally stupid or reactionary.

Anonymous said...

The Free Press is the worst newspaper and John Briggs is a bush league reporter.

I quote: "Kiss' informal suggestion Friday about handguns is the second time since taking office April 3 that he has opened discussion of a controversial issue."

What a ridiculous thought, that a mayor shouldn't say anything controversial. Regarding the sanctuary city: Shay Totten a reporter with a brain was inquisitive enough to find out the real story. From the Vt. Guardian: "Critics(of the sanctuary city study) pounced on the statement, saying the mayor was going off on a tangent and proposing new ideas without vetting them through the council.

Not so, says Kiss.

“What I said was that I had asked the city attorney to look into ramifications of becoming a sanctuary city,” said Kiss, who believes such a designation would not be putting out a welcome mat to illegal immigrants, as some have charged, but rather, making sure that illegal immigrants living in Burlington would not be denied emergency services or other programs solely based on their immigration status.

“My interest here is, in part, responding to the whole discussion at the federal level,” said Kiss. “The proposal to have 11 million people become felons over their immigration status — that sort of spirit is something we ought to oppose."

What a thoughtful reasoned approach from an intelligent man. Apparently, Briggs doesn't think he's earning his money unless he's reporting on "controversy".

rowvee said...

Yes, a great article in the Vermont Guardian

http://vtguardian.com/local/052006/BobKiss.shtml

Everyone should subscribe.

Anonymous said...

Gee, the Guardian did a puff piece on a Prog? What a surprise!

"Critics(of the sanctuary city study) pounced on the statement, saying the mayor was going off on a tangent and proposing new ideas without vetting them through the council.

Not so, says Kiss.

'What I said was that I had asked the city attorney to look into ramifications of becoming a sanctuary city,' said Kiss... 'My interest here is, in part, responding to the whole discussion at the federal level'"

Oh really, Bob?

"With an immigration reform protest as his backdrop, Mayor Kiss told supporters he planned to make the Queen City a so-called 'sanctuary city,' too."
"'I hope we can move forward to become a sanctuary city in the United States of America,' said Mayor Kiss, a progressive from Burlington."
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=4850842

apple said...

"And the previous post from the genius questioning Kiss' senility must have been made by Kurt Wright."

I kind of doubt it, since you can't spout off on these things and expect to remain an elected official. It's a lesson that some learn too late.

rapunzel said...

"Did you read the frigging article? So, where do you get off calling the post "Mayor Kiss calls for greater gun control?"

Maybe you should try reading the article in the actual post, Einstein.

"Mayor Bob Kiss, stepping into sensitive political territory in just his second month in office, responded to a shooting incident in the city by calling for greater gun control... 'I think we can do more around the issue of handguns in particular.'"

The reporter who was at the press conference said he brought up gun control. Were you there? And by "do more," do you think he meant setting up shooting ranges?

So he distributed a press release that the reporters likely already had, said that Burlington should "do more" about guns, admitted he had no idea what exactly, then was later informed through the media that there is nothing a municipality CAN do. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Puff piece. Give me a break. A reporter actually does his job and people call it puff piece. Maybe you could have Bill O'Reilly call for all Americans to boycott Burlington. Make him scream really loud. Makes for fun news.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully he'll challenge whatever is in the way of "doing more" about handguns. I hope he'll make it the biggest controversy ever and make people think about how many people are dying for your precious gun rights. "oh, that's okay, just bury them. I've got my second amendment"

Anonymous said...

Spout off? That's all Kurt Wright does. Every time he speaks it sounds like something he's saying to a customer at Kerry's quick stop. He's never had a reasoned idea.

rowvee said...

"With an immigration reform protest as his backdrop, Mayor Kiss told supporters he planned to make the Queen City a so-called 'sanctuary city,' too."
"'I hope we can move forward to become a sanctuary city in the United States of America,' said Mayor Kiss, a progressive from Burlington."
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=4850842

Great, more reliable news from the local hacks...contraditicting themselves in the same sentence.

Primitivo said...

"contraditicting themselves in the same sentence."

I think you're a bit confused - it was Bumpersticker Bob who contradicted himself. "I want Burlington to be a sanctuary city" "What, I didn't propose any new ideas"

primitivo said...

Oh, and the Guardian fails to call out such an obvious "misstatement" = puff piece

primitivo said...

"Hopefully he'll challenge whatever is in the way of "doing more" about handguns."

Sounds like Bumpersticker Bob's supporters are as confused about his proclamations as he is.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, Bob. Thanks for saying things nobody else dares to.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like "It's bad when people shoot each other and someone should do something about that, I don't know what though." Such bravery!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Such bravery!"

That's ironic irony.

Anonymous said...

Every Democratic in Vermont is thankful to him for saying that which none of them dare to say. I hope it becomes a statewide issue so that people have to face facts about guns and not cave in to the freakish NRA lobby.

Anonymous said...

"I hope it becomes a statewide issue"

You hope what becomes a statewide issue, dementia screening for mayoral candidates?

You are quite a spokesperson for the "democratics"!

Anonymous said...

Oops I made a typo in defending the best mayor who's ever served in Burlington. That'll never do. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

"the best mayor who's ever served in Burlington."

I understand your need to be sarcastic but you shouldn't make fun of Bumpersticker Bob like that, he's clearly having plenty of problems as it is.

charity said...

"I hope it becomes a statewide issue so that people have to face facts about guns and not cave in to the freakish NRA lobby."

Yes, I too hope that gun control becomes an issue for the Democrats in VT. That would be the best thing to ever happen to this state. There is no shortage of people who would "vote against their self-interest" and go GOP if the Dems start taking their guns away!

This is Vermont for cripes sake. There are not enough liberal transplants to out-vote the gun owners.

GiveTexasBack said...

Oh no! Bob dared to mention guns and crime in the same sentence! Holy Jesus, hide the children and lock the doors. Next thing you know he'll be defending civil rights. What to do about this madness??

jim kotsuelas said...

"The mayor didn't offer any specific proposals on what might be done, but he says the public and political officials need to pay attention."

Wow, thanks a lot. Now maybe you can start thinking about actually doing your job before your term's up.

Anonymous said...

I'm backin' myself into my cave. Come and get my guns Bob! I dare you.

dl michaels said...

This cracks me up. If he proposes weekly shiatsu massages for low-income residents next week, his dwindling pool of supporters will act like that's the most pressing issue in burlington's history. Certainly more important than a 10% tax hike!

Jim said...

I am amazed at the ignorance of the posters to this blog. Rowvee's statement of "pry the gun out of my child cold dead fingers" is not only ignorant, it shows a lack of understanding. If your child dies of a gun, it is YOUR fault, not mine. If a drug dealer shoots another drug dealer, it is the criminals fault, not the law abiding gun owner down the street. The posts also show a lack of understanding on how "easy" it is to buy a gun. Rowvee, have you ever bought a gun? Personally I hope not, but I will defend your right to own one if you so choose. People need to take responsibility for their own actions, and Mayor Kiss needs to take control of the drug trade in this city first, as I would bet the farm on the fact that both shootings this year were drug related (not that any news outlet in VT would report that). Oh, by the way, we have Article 16 of the Vermont State Constitution that says we have the right to own firearms for self defense, but what prostitician ever allowed the Constitution to stand in their way?

Jim said...

Is "Rowvee" short for Roe V Wade supporter?

Jim said...

"...made clear that handguns contribute to a greater prevalence in the world to violence. We should all be concerned," said Kiss

Handguns don't incite violence, stupid comments do. The main contributor to violence, Bob, is religion, maybe we should regulate or ban that too.

Jim said...

I wonder how many handguns Mayor Kiss owns?

Jim said...

If you have an opinion, you must have a first name, please use it (or a made up name), that way it is easier to reply to "anonymous". Thanks.

another anonymous said...

First you say, “If a drug dealer shoots another drug dealer, it is the criminals fault, not the law abiding gun owner down the street.”

Then you say, “The main contributor to violence, Bob, is religion.”

If a person does something violent because of their misunderstanding of their religion or their lack of tolerance for other religions, it is still the person’s fault, not the religion.

If a religious fanatic kills another person, it is the fanatic’s fault, not the peaceful religious person down the street.

Jim said...

To another anonymous,
The comment on religion is anecdotal to Mayor Kiss' comment on handguns being a cause for violence globally. The comment was also sarcastic, personal responsibility is the way here.

Jim said...

"If a religious fanatic kills another person, it is the fanatic’s fault, not the peaceful religious person down the street."

Exactly my point. You can not blame a whole group, or restrict them in some way, just because of the actions of a few. The bible/torah/koran in the hand of a religious fanatic is no different a weapon than the gun in the hand of a dealer or criminal. Increase the penalties for using a deadly weapon in the commision of a crime, and then make that person pay the penalty, don't restrict/ regulate/ lisence the law abiding citizen who lawfully owns and uses a gun.

GiveTexasBack said...

So what you're saying, Jim, is that kids should be allowed to buy and smoke cigarettes anywhere they want. After all, just because a few people die of cancer doesn't mean all smokers should suffer. It's each individual's responsibility to decide to smoke or not. Or even to stand next to someone who is smoking.

By the way, your claim that Article 16 of the VT Constitution says "we have the right to own firearms for self defense" is a bold-faced LIE.

Here's the actual wording (reduxed): "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State...."

Try to ween yourself off that NRA newsletter, okay?

dl michaels said...

"we have the right to own firearms for self defense"
<>
"the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves"

?

Sounds like the same thing to me.

charity said...

"Sounds like the same thing to me."

Yeah, me too. I'm not quite sure where the whole "bold-faced LIE" thing comes in.

GiveTexasBack said...

"Sounds like the same thing to me."

Show me where the word 'firearms' is in this Article and I will apologize.

Otherwise, we'll get into the debate of what constitutes "arms". Does it include baseball bats? Does it include nuclear weapons? Surely our forefathers knew what firearms were when the Constitution was drafted. So why was that specific word - or guns - intentionally not mentioned?

My bet: the spirit of the Article is to give people a right to defend themselves. How one does it is open to interpretation. However, it is clear that 'firearms' in and of themselves are not protected by the Constitution - nor is there a right for everyone to possess them. Obviously the NRA lobbyist above will disagree and have a coronary over this.

dl michaels said...

"Otherwise, we'll get into the debate of what constitutes 'arms'."

For the purposes of your comparison, it doesn't matter if the term "arms" encompasses weapons other than firearms, it only matters that it includes firearms. The courts (without exception, as far as I know) have held that it does. I can't imagine a case being made that a "firearm" isn't a type of "arm."

Jim said...

to givetexasback,
My apologies for the misquote. However, Firearms and "arms" does mean the same thing. Have you ever read the Anti-federalist or Federalist Papers? Although not written by "Vermonters", yet the terminology of the day was that "arms" meant what we today call firearms. Thank you to Dl Michaels and Charity for the defense on terminology. And as far as smoking cigarettes is concerned, strictly from a libertarian point of view, the parents of a child are responsible to teach and guide that child,and make choices for that child, not the gov. So if a child is to smoke under their parents permission, then so be it, who are you to make that choice for them? Oh, and by the way, I am not a member of the NRA, nor am I a member of the ACLU, I do not support any group that picks and chooses which Constitutional rights are defensable and which are not. The NRA spouts about the 2nd Amendment, but the last time that I checked, the 2nd Amendment wasn't about duck hunting. The 2nd Amendmdnet is in place as a means for the citizenry to defend all of it's other rights against a despotic government. VT's Constitution Article 16 specifically gives the People the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state. And the US Supreme Court has judged the individual right to bear arms several times, so please stick to the facts. Oh, by the way Givetexasback, VT Constitution's Article 9 gives you the right NOT to bear arms.

GiveTexasBack said...

There is obvious disagreement in interpretation of what constitutes 'arms'.

A question I mentioned before remains open to speculation: Why did the authors of the Constitution not insert the word 'guns' or 'firearms' into the Constitution? They certainly found them handy in picking off beavers and Indians back in the day.

My beef is not with guns or people owning them as a matter of principle (or in this case, a "right"). It's accessibility. To say everyone has a right to own a gun therefore anyone who wants one should have one is socially irresponsible. Unless you think every single person - no matter their criminal record or mental health - should own a gun, then we can agree that some level of control is needed. Where is the line drawn?

Therein lies the beauty in what Bob Kiss stated at his press conference. How about we as citizens revisit that level of control to learn what we want in our society? Seems timely considering the two cadavers up in the morgue and plenty of scared neighbors.

Anonymous said...

"Why did the authors of the Constitution not insert the word 'guns' or 'firearms' into the Constitution?"

Because "arms" means more than just "guns." But again, all that matters for the purposes of this discussion is that it does in fact encompass guns - no one has ever disputed that. It's OK to just admit that you were wrong.

"How about we as citizens revisit that level of control to learn what we want in our society?"

The problem is that there is no legal recourse that Bob Kiss has to address the problem that you've stated. He could address crime in the ONE, but that would involve action with measurable results, something I'm sure he wants to avoid. You can't fail at "having a discussion," even if there is no possible actionable outcome to that discussion.

GiveTexasBack said...

"It's OK to just admit that you were wrong."

About what? If you are still contending that everyone has a right to own a gun as guaranteed by the Second Amendment (or 16th Article of VT's Constitution), then I suggest you re-read what was posted above.

BTW, no answer as to whether or not everyone should own a gun? How about the local schizophrenic? Maybe the violent convicted felon? The guy with an outstanding restraining order against him? If you believe these folks ought to be limited to gun access, then you believe in gun control.

Bob's legal recourse does not preclude giving the issue attention to our state lawmakers.

Anonymous said...

"then I suggest you re-read what was posted above."

You mean the part where it was explained to you repeatedly that the statements "we have the right to own firearms for self defense"
and "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves" are equivalent? OK, I just did. Unless you are going to dispute that "arms" includes "firearms," or are completely incapable of grasping rudimentary logic, I see no rebuttal.

"Bob's legal recourse does not preclude giving the issue attention to our state lawmakers."

So how exactly would that be accomplished in a Burlington charter change?

Jim said...

to givetexasback,
If you knew anything about buying a gun, anyone adjudicated mentally deficient, anyone convicted of a felony, certain misdemeanors, and any person with certain types of court cases pending, as well as any person with any type of restraining order, can not buy a gun. Having a felony record or having a mental health issue bars you for life. Now that isn't to say that that person won't go to the local criminal element, and buy a gun out of the back of a car illegally, but criminals have never been keen on following the law, so why would another gun law stop them? Crack down on the cities drug and criminal element, and you will solve the "handgun" problem.