A Bristling Standoff Rattles Gun-Friendly Vermont

A Bristling Standoff Rattles Gun-Friendly Vermont

PAWLET, Vt. — Fear has gradually spread in the town of Pawlet. In the hills west of town — which is where the trouble started — the houses are remote, separated by wind-scoured stretches of cropland. Those people are the most jittery. Some of them have installed cameras with infrared lights so they could pick up figures that might be moving in the dark around their houses. A few have invested in bulletproof vests. None of it makes them feel entirely safe. Michelle Tilander, 63, a retired physical therapist who moved to West Pawlet 10 years ago, said she had written a letter to be opened in case she or her husband should be hurt or killed. “The police come in, they’ll find that envelope and they’ll know who to question ,” she said. She is talking about Daniel Banyai, a 47-year-old New Yorker who, attracted by Vermont’s relaxed gun laws, bought 30 acres in this rural town of around 1,400 and transformed it into his dream project, a training camp where visitors could practice shooting as if engaged in armed combat. Whether those fears are warranted is a question that has preoccupied Vermont law enforcement for months. Certainly, the dispute has escalated over three years from a zoning matter into something more combustible, as Mr. Banyai resisted the town’s demands to dismantle his weapons training facility, Slate Ridge. Anonymous threats to his opponents have appeared online. The Town Hall in Pawlet, Vt., a community around 1,400 along the […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.