Gun laws in Vermont
Vermont has very few gun control laws, and has among the most permissive laws in the nation regarding the purchase and open or concealed carry of firearms. The state's rural character, along with its strong hunting and outdoor sports traditions, have contributed to the state's permissive gun policies. Gun dealers are required to keep a record of all handgun sales. It is illegal to carry a gun on school property or in a courthouse. State law preempts local governments from regulating the possession, ownership, transfer, carrying, registration or licensing of firearms.
The state of Vermont neither issues nor requires a permit to carry a weapon on one's person, openly or concealed. This permissive stance on gun control known in the US as Constitutional carry, since one's "permit" is said to be the constitution. For many decades, Vermont was the only state where this was the case (hence the alternative term Vermont carry). Vermont law does not distinguish between residents and non-residents of the state; both have the same right to carry permit-free while in Vermont.
The Vermont Constitution of 1777, dating well before the Bill of Rights to a time when Vermont was an independent republic, guarantees certain freedoms and rights to the citizens: "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power." In the modern era, the Vermont Supreme Court established the right to carry firearms without a permit in State v Rosenthal, 75 Vt. 295 (1903).
In January 2013, the city of Burlington approved an ordinance banning semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines within the city. The policy's constitutionality is ambiguous, and its passage generated controversy and disapproval from gun rights advocates in the state, culminating in an incident in Morrisville, where the owners of a firing range have prohibited Burlington Police officers from using the facility to protest the City Council's decision. The ban was ultimately dropped and never reached a local vote.
|Subject/Law||Long guns||Handguns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|State Permit to Purchase?||No||No|
|Assault weapon law?||No||No|
|Owner license required?||No||No|
|Carry permits issued?||No||No||Vermont Firearm Laws||May carry open or concealed without permit as long as you are a citizen of the U.S. or a lawfully admitted alien, and not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law.|
|State Preemption of local restrictions?||Yes||Yes|
|NFA weapons restricted?||No||No||June 17th, 2015 Vermont legalized suppressors.|
- NRA/ILA Firearms Laws for Vermont
- Charles C. W. Cooke, "Vermont: Safe and Happy and Armed to the Teeth", National Review Online, June 24, 2014.
- Constitution of the State of Vermont, on the Vermont Legislature web site
- "State V. Rosenthal". Guncite.com. 1903-05-30. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
- "State V. Rosenthal". Constitution.org. 1903-05-30. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
- "Burlington City Council approves gun ban". WCAX.org. January 9, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- "24 V.S.A. § 2295. Authority of municipal and county governments to regulate firearms, ammunition, hunting, fishing and trapping". Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- "Burlington mayor, police call expulsion from firing range 'unfortunate'". Burlington Free Press. January 17, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- "H.5 (Act 61): An act relating to hunting, fishing, and trapping". Archived from the original on June 25, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015.