FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Vermont Gun Laws

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Introduction

Vermont is located in the Northeast, surrounded by New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Canada. It is the only state in the New England area that does not touch the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second least populous of the fifty (50) states.  Vermont was the first state to enact constitutional carry laws, which are sometimes referred to as Vermont style carry.

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A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Vermont Constitution states:

“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.”

[http://gunla.ws/vt1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of Vermont’s preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided by law, no town, city or incorporated village, by ordinance, resolution or other enactment, shall directly regulate hunting, fishing and trapping or the possession, ownership, transportation, transfer, sale, purchase, carrying, licensing or registration of traps, firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or ammunition. This section shall not limit the powers conferred upon a town, city or incorporated village under section 2291(8) of this title. The provisions of this section shall supersede any inconsistent provisions of a municipal charter.”

[http://gunla.ws/vt2]

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C. Reciprocal Carry

Vermont does not require a permit to carry a concealed or open weapon within the state.

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D. NFA Items

Vermont permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law.

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E. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Vermont permits any who may legally possess firearms to carry them in vehicles, but long guns must be kept unloaded.

[http://gunla.ws/vt3]

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F. Self-defense Laws

Vermont does not have a Castle Doctrine or SYG law, but courts have consistently ruled that there is no duty to retreat when attacked in Your dwelling. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, or the commission of a forcible felony.

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G. Criminal Provisions

Under Vermont law, one cannot carry a handgun in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring a fellow man, or who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon within any state institution or upon the grounds or lands owned or leased for the use of such institution, without the approval of the warden or superintendent of the institution, shall be imprisoned not more than two (2) years or fined not more than $200.00, or both.
  • Intentionally point or aim a firearm towards another, except in self-defense
  • Within a courthouse
  • On a school bus or in a school building or on school property, unless the board of school directors authorizes the use of firearms for instructional purposes
  • On the grounds of a state institution, unless the Warden gives permission (e.g., prisons, mental hospital, state colleges, etc.)
  • On the grounds of a residential treatment program

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/vt4]

Vermont Statutes can be accessed at: [http://gunla.ws/vt5]

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H. Duty to Inform Officers

No. Vermont allows anyone who can legally possess a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit of any kind.

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I. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

Yes. If a property or establishment has a “No Guns” sign or the person in lawful possession communicates to You that guns are not allowed, You are prohibited from carrying on the property or into the establishment. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes Unlawful Trespass and is punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine of up to $500.  [http://gunla.ws/53ns]

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J. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. You are allowed to carry into any establishment that serves alcohol, including bars. If there is a “No Guns” sign, You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. [http://gunla.ws/7wpq]

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K. Open Carry

Open carry is legal in Vermont. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. The minimum age for open carry is lower in Vermont, but federal law states that you must be 18 to possess a handgun.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More