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Scott allows ‘ghost’ guns, union bills to become law without signature

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(The Center Square) — Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott has allowed bills banning “ghost” guns and making it easier for public sector unions to organize to become law without his signature.

One bill, approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature earlier this month, will ban so-called “ghost” guns by prohibiting the possession and transfer of unregulated and unserialized firearms and components. It also establishes a process for federal firearms dealers to print serial numbers on guns.

In a letter to lawmakers, Scott cited concerns about the “practical impacts and enforceability” that kept him from signing this bill, but said he is allowing it to become law because he understands the “fears behind access to untraceable firearms and respect the effort to tailor the scope and exceptions to limit impact for law abiding citizens.”

The changes were opposed by the National Rifle Association, which had urged Scott to veto the bill, saying it would “require law-abiding gun-owners to contact government agencies and obtain serial numbers whenever they purchase critical parts for their firearms.”

“First and foremost, a prohibited individual is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm regardless of how the firearm is assembled,” the NRA said in a recent statement. “This will only impact law-abiding citizens, because criminals will ignore this law.”

But gun control advocates praised Scott for allowing the bill to become a law, saying it will help cut off the flow of unserialized, untraceable “ghost” guns into Vermont and also prohibit firearms at polling places.

Pat Byrd, a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action, called the move “a victory for gun safety and another example of the bipartisan progress we can make in Vermont to protect our communities.”

Unlike commercially-made serialized firearms, “ghost” guns can be assembled using parts manufactured on milling machines and 3D printers. The weapons circumvent background checks, convicted felon restrictions and waiting periods because they are sold as components rather than a completed gun, critics say.

Vermont joins 13 states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, that have banned “ghost” guns and their components, according to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Scott also allowed a bill to become law that seeks to make it easier for public sector workers to organize under union representation and prohibits employers from forcing workers to attend meetings with religious or political messages.

“One concern with the bill is the potential to adversely impact the employer-employee relationship by limiting an employer’s ability to communicate their point of view on a range of issues, including the advantages and disadvantages of unionization,” Scott wrote to lawmakers.

However, Scott noted that the rules established by the National Labor Relations Act will “help limit the adverse impacts of this bill on the private sector.”

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