Gun laws in Vermont
The state has very few gun control laws, and has among the most permissive laws in the United States regarding the purchase of firearms as well as their open or concealed carry. 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 in a school building or bus, or in a courthouse. State law preempts local governments from regulating the possession, ownership, transfer, carrying, registration or licensing of firearms.
The State neither issues nor requires a permit to carry a weapon on one's person, openly or concealed. This permissive stance on gun control is known in the U.S. as constitutional carry, since one's "permit" is said to be the United States Constitution. Vermont is the only state where this has always been 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." The Vermont Supreme Court established the right to carry firearms without a permit in its 1903 State v. Rosenthal decision.
In January 2013, the City of Burlington, Vermont's most populous municipality, approved an ordinance banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines within its limits. An attempt at gun control at the local level, the ordinance would be likely to be challenged in court if enforced because Vermont has State preemption of local restrictions. The proposed ordinance was never fully enacted.
|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 required?||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||Vermont legalized suppressors on June 17th, 2015.|
|Background checks required for private sales?||No||No|
- 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.
- "H.5 (Act 61): An act relating to hunting, fishing, and trapping". Archived from the original on June 25, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015.