Vermont State Senator Mary Ann Carlson on Gun Control-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A quote about gun control that has been attributed to former Vermont State Senator Mary Ann Carlson has been making the rounds on discussion forums.
Mary Ann Carlson didn’t say that gun owners are likely to commit a crime, or that gun registration should be used to arrest people before they commit crimes.
Mary Ann Carlson was, however, defeated in a Vermont state senate race in the mid 1990s after introducing gun control legislation that would have established a gun registry and a wait period for buying handguns.
Mary Ann Carlson’s supposed quote appeared in a long list of quotes from lawmakers about taking guns away from people that was posted at the pro-gun website The Truth About Guns in July 2014. The list attacked the argument that “nobody wants to take your guns away” by listing quotes from lawmakers who supposedly want to just that. Among them was Mary Ann Carlson, a former Democratic state senator from Vermont:
Vermont State Mary Ann Carlson (D) does.
“We must be able to arrest people before they commit crimes. By registering guns and knowing who has them we can do that. If they have guns they are pretty likely to commit a crime.”
From there, the Mary Ann Carlson’s gun control quote made its way to a Reddit discussion forum, where people commented that Mary Ann Carlson had lost her seat in the Vermont State Senate over the comment or because she introduced gun control legislation, which have been common claims over the years.
And Mary Ann Carlson’s alleged quote about arresting criminals before they commit crimes isn’t new — it’s been making the rounds since at least 2002.
Let’s start with what’s true about this rumor. Mary Ann Carlson lost her seat in the Vermont Senate in the mid-1990s after introducing a number of gun control bills (it’s been falsely reported that Mary Ann Carlson lost her senate seat as recently as 2014). In an interview with the New Haven Register in 2013, Carlson said her stance on gun control likely contributed to her defeat:
Mary Ann Carlson, a former Democratic senator from Bennington County, said she experienced the backlash of Vermont’s strong gun culture after introducing legislation in 1994 that would have restricted semi-automatic weapons and required gun registration in Vermont.
Carlson was defeated in the ensuing election and said her bill played a role in that defeat.
“I think probably the NRA came after me,” she said. “There was a bumper sticker out that said, ‘guns and ammo yes, Carlson no.'”Carlson and other sponsors were looking to keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not own them, she said. She still believes that “many incredible people who have guns use them responsibly” and those responsible gun owners could help create restrictions that would prevent gun violence.
“I wish that the … people who use guns responsibly would speak out so people who use guns irresponsibly can’t just go out and buy a gun and the next day use it,” Carlson said.
As for her supposed quotes about arresting criminals before they commit crimes, or about all gun owners being criminals, we couldn’t find any record of her actually saying those things. Mary Ann Carlson also directly denied making those remarks on a local Vermont blog back in 2003, stating that she was a supporter of civil liberties and that the quotes didn’t jibe with her beliefs.
So, given that Mary Ann Carlson apparently lost her senate seat after introducing gun control bills, and because there’s no record of her making the quotes that have been attributed to her, we’re labeling this one truth and fiction.