Mulvaney-Stanak's Response to Nov 13th, 2023 Gun Violence and Creating Safer Neighborhoods
November 14, 2023 Last night, our Burlington community experienced a shooting that resulted in the murder of two people. I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and all of those impacted. From my home in the Old North End, I watched 7 Burlington police cruisers, a fire truck, and an ambulance race down North Street to the scene from my front window. In addition to these deaths, there were shootings downtown that resulted in one additional injured victim and an intentional fire set in the Burlington Police Department lobby. While we hope for a swift and just outcome for those responsible, I recognize the ongoing need to address community safety and urgently work on the challenges contributing to gun violence.
Everyone deserves to feel and be safe. Gun violence not only harms victims and their families, but also traumatizes neighborhoods. There is a recent troubling pattern of drug-related shootings across Vermont. Burlington has experienced 14 gunfire incidents (3 of which were last night) this year compared to 26 incidents in 2022. Current gun laws do not adequately protect Vermonters.
We need to do more to address the complexities of drug dealing and gun violence plaguing our state. I support stronger gun laws to protect our communities. As a Vermont state representative, I introduced H.98, which included a 10-day waiting period before gun purchases and stronger tools to remove guns from “sensitive places,” such as those serving alcohol. In 2023, the VT legislature passed Act 45 requiring a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchase effective July 1, 2023. There is still work to do to protect our communities. We must prioritize our local police resources to respond to violent calls and partner with state and federal law enforcement to address the flow of drugs into our state, while continuing to support public health approaches to substance use disorder that decrease reliance on the illicit market.
In conjunction with these efforts, I will explore violence interruption models that have been successfully implemented in other cities. These programs work on both prevention and have a proven track record of preventing retaliations after a shooting by immediately working with victims, friends, and those connected with the incident.
Today I stand in support of victims of gun violence, while commiting to efforts that will tighten our state’s response to drug trafficking and gun access so that we can prevent gun violence in our communities.