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Vermont Governor Signs State’s First Significant Gun-Control Laws

Rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Vermont governor Phil Scott signed a package of sweeping gun-control reforms into law Wednesday, in an unprecedented moment for the historically pro-Second Amendment state.

The three pieces of legislation, which raise the minimum age for gun purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and streamline the gun-confiscation process, passed the state legislature in late March amid increased calls for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.

‘‘This is not the time to do what’s easy, it’s time to do what’s right,’’ Scott said on the statehouse steps Wednesday afternoon to a combination of cheers and boos from crowd.

Scott, a gun owner who vowed to oppose increased gun-control laws in 2016, softened his position after authorities prevented a Vermont high-school student from carrying out a mass shooting just days after the Parkland massacre.

“No state is immune to the risk of extreme violence,” Mr. Scott said in a statement issued after the legislative package passed the state Senate, adding, “If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?”

The most controversial of the bills, S.55, requires mandatory background checks for private sales, raises the minimum purchase age to 21, and bans bump stocks and the sale of magazines that hold more than ten rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for hand guns.

The other two bills signed Wednesday make it easier to confiscate guns from someone arrested on domestic-violence charges and establish “extreme risk protection orders,” which allow the police to seek a court order to seize guns from anyone deemed an “extreme risk.”

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