Louis Meyers, M.D.

Louis Meyers for State Senate

Policy Statements on Public Safety

Following recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Florida - as well as the near-catastrophe closer to home in Fair Haven - there are common-sense steps Vermont can and should take immediately:

1) Ban the sale or possession of bump stocks.

2) Prohibit the sale of magazines with more than ten rounds.

3) Enable enforcement of extreme risk protection orders, which give police the authority to temporarily remove guns if a person makes threats, acts violently, or commits animal cruelty.

4) Raise the minimum age for purchasing a gun to 21.

While I favor the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana, I oppose its full legalization in Vermont. In doing so I stand with the Vermont Medical Society and many of the major medical societies in the state.

I believe that the medical benefits of marijuana are real but limited.

I also believe that its potential harm to the general community is real and significant.

I also do not believe that legalization will markedly reduce activity by drug dealers. The fact that opioid pain medications can be obtained by legal prescription has not prevented their criminal diversion for illicit purposes.

I believe that the currently proposed legislation legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana is the proverbial foot in the door for the marijuana industry. I fully expect that within the next few years its legislative proponents will be trying to expand the limits to allow large-scale cultivation. The marijuana industry is spending heavily on lobbying and in political donations to get this legislation passed. They mean business.

The bill's backers promise to use some of the collected revenue to pay for drug abuse prevention and treatment. This is similar to what we see in states which haven chosen to dot their landscape with gambling casinos, and then skim off a small amount of the profit to treat people who have subsequently become addicted. It makes no sense.

As a physician, I am running for State Senator to help keep Vermont strong and healthy and that leads me to oppose legalization of marijuana.

These are troubled times, as Americans face new dangers from both within and outside our borders. Aside from the threat of politically motivated terrorist acts, we are aware of the almost daily mass shootings which scar our country.

A debate on gun control - one which has been ongoing for nearly 50 years - is much in the news.

Vermont has a stake in this debate. We have a history of hunting which is part of the very fabric of the state, and despite the easy availability of guns there has been relatively little gun violence in Vermont. Because of this, a number of Vermont politicians over the years have hedged or skirted entirely the issue of gun control. There are certainly well-known political risks for crossing the NRA. And yet we do not live on an island and are not immune from the possibility of gun-related tragedies. In Vermont, unfortunately, we have a high rate of suicide by guns.

I believe that what is needed is less shouting and more common sense. The second amendment of the Constitution needs to be respected and law-abiding adults in Vermont have the right to own handguns and rifles.

Having said that, I also support the following principles:

1) All firearms should be registered with the state. Registration should be free of charge.

2) There should be a background check on all gun buyers. This should completed within 7 days of purchase application.

3) Persons who have been charged with domestic abuse or convicted of violent felonies should not be allowed to purchase firearms.

4) We need to consider limiting the size of ammunition clips, in an effort to save lives. A 30-round clip in an automatic weapon can kill 25-30 people in a matter of seconds. A 10-round clip would at least give more people a chance to escape or overpower the shooter. And as for hunting, any hunter who needs more than ten bullets to bring down a deer or other animal isn't much of a hunter.

I have previously worked as a probation officer in crime-ridden inner city neighborhoods which resembled killing fields. And for the past 22 years I have been a physician, working to save lives. The proposals I have outlined will save lives.

I will vote for the ban on the sale of all fully automatic weapons.

Other Policy Statements

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