See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.
Before 2015, Vermont had not adopted any classes of prohibited persons broader than those set forth under federal law (and had not made sales to those purchasers a state crime).
However, in 2015, Vermont passed a law prohibiting a person who has been convicted of a violent crime from possessing a firearm.1 For the purposes of this prohibition, “firearm” is defined to include (i) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (ii) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; or (iii) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, except if the firearm is an antique firearm.2 The statute defines “violent crime” to include certain enumerated crimes listed in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 5301(7), including domestic assault and stalking offenses.3
A Vermont court may, as a condition of probation, require that an offender or juvenile offender refrain from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition without written permission from the court, probation officer, or juvenile probation officer.4
Vermont has no laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms by:
- Persons with mental illness;
- Persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders;
- Drug or alcohol abusers; or
- Juvenile offenders.
For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Vermont Background Checks section.
- See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017. This prohibition applies unless the person has successfully petitioned the U.S. Attorney General for relief from the disabilities imposed by Federal laws with respect to the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, transportation, or possession of firearms. ⤴︎
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017(d)(1), (2). ⤴︎
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017(d)(3). ⤴︎
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 28, § 252(b)(8), tit. 33, § 5262(b)(4). ⤴︎