Gun Dealers in Vermont

See our Gun Dealers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Vermont has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license or permit.

For information about the Vermont law requiring firearms dealers to maintain records of sales, see the Vermont Retention of Sales/Background Checks Records section.

A law enacted in 2018 now generally requires gun sales or transfers between unlicensed individuals to be processed by a licensed firearms dealer, pursuant to a background check. For more information about this law, see the Private Sales in Vermont section.

Gun Industry Immunity in Vermont

Vermont law provides that the owner or operator of a sport shooting range, and any person lawfully using the range, who is in substantial compliance with any noise use condition of any issued municipal or state land use permit required by law shall not be subject to any civil liability for damages or any injunctive relief resulting from noise or noise pollution.1 If no municipal or state land use permit is otherwise required by law, then the owner or operator of the range and any person lawfully using the range shall not be subject to any civil liability for damages or any injunctive relief relating to noise or noise pollution.2

Vermont Statutes Annotated title 10, section 5227(d) states: “Nothing in this section shall prohibit or limit the authority of a municipality or the state to enforce any condition of a lawfully issued and otherwise required permit.” However, even when the range is found to be not in substantial compliance with a municipal or state land use permit, a nuisance claim against the range may only be brought by an owner of property abutting the range.3 Furthermore, there is a rebuttable presumption that the range does not constitute any form of nuisance if the range was established prior to the acquisition of the property owned by the person bringing the nuisance claim, and the frequency of the shooting or other alleged nuisance activity at the range has not significantly increased since that person’s acquisition of the property.4 This presumption may be rebutted only by an abutting property owner showing that “the activity has a noxious and significant interference with the use and enjoyment” of his or her property.5

See our Gun Industry Immunity policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 5227(b). ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 5227(c). ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 5227(e)(1). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 5227(e)(2). ⤴︎

Guns in Schools in Vermont

Vermont prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm within a school building or on a school bus.1 The state also prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm on any school property with the intent to injure another person.2 These provisions do not apply to possession of a firearm if the board of school directors (or the superintendent or principal if delegated authority to do so by the board) authorizes possession or use for specific occasions or for instructional or other specific purposes.3 The term “school” is undefined, so it is not clear whether this term applies to colleges, universities, or other postsecondary institutions.

In Vermont, school boards must adopt and implement policies regarding students who bring a firearm to school or possess a firearm at school.4 At a minimum these policies must provide that any student who brings a firearm to school or possesses a firearm at school shall be expelled for not less than one calendar year.5 The school board may modify the expulsion on a case-by-case basis in certain circumstances.6

Technical training centers must also regulate or prohibit firearms on their premises.7

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4004(a). ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4004(b). ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4004(c)(2). ⤴︎
  4. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1166(b). ⤴︎
  5. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1166(b)(2). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1577(4). The governing board’s policies must meet or exceed these same requirements of Vermont Statutes Annotated title 16, § 1166 and title 13, § 4004. ⤴︎

Guns in Vehicles in Vermont

Vermont prohibits a person from carrying or possessing a loaded rifle or shotgun while in a vehicle on a public highway.1 Long guns must be unloaded when transported in a motor vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to a licensed hunter who is a paraplegic or is otherwise certified by a physician as disabled and who obtains a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Commissioner which must be attached to the hunting license.2

 

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 4705(b). ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 4705(e). ⤴︎

Large Capacity Magazines in Vermont

In 2018, Vermont enacted legislation to generally restrict the sale, purchase, possession, manufacture, and importation of large capacity ammunition “feeding devices.”1 However, this law grandfathered possession of large capacity magazines that were lawfully possessed on or before the date the law was enacted (April 11, 2018).2 

These restrictions apply to a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept:

  • more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a long gun; or
  • more than 15 rounds of ammunition for a hand gun.3   

However, Vermont exempts certain magazines, including those manufactured or sold solely for use by a lever action or bolt action long gun, an antique firearm, or a curio or relic4 or “attached tubular devices” that are designed to accept, and only capable of operating with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.5 

See our Large Capacity Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4021 (enacted by 2017 VT S 55, Sec. 8. ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4021(c)(1). ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4021(e)(1). ⤴︎
  4. “Curio or relic” means a firearm that is of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than its association with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4021(e)(2)(C). ⤴︎
  5. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4021(e). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Vermont

Vermont has no law restricting machine guns, except in the hunting context.1 However, in 2018, the state enacted a limited ban on possession of certain “bump-fire stocks”2 if they are designed to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm and intended to increase the rate of fire achievable with the firearm to that of a fully automatic firearm.3

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.4 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019.5

See our Machine Guns/ Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 4704. ⤴︎
  2. See 2017 VT S 55, Sec. 9.  A “bump-fire stock” is defined to mean”a butt stock designed to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm and intended to increase the rate of fire achievable with the firearm to that of a fully automatic firearm by using the energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates the repeated activation of the trigger. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4022(a). ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4022. ⤴︎
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). ⤴︎
  5. Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, 479). ⤴︎

Maintaining Records of Gun Sales in Vermont

Vermont law requires all pawnbrokers and retail firearms dealers to keep a record book in which they record the sale of all handguns and the purchase of all second-hand handguns.1 The record must include the date of the transaction, the marks of identification on the firearm (including the manufacturer’s name, the caliber, model and manufacturer’s number of the firearm), and the name, address, birthplace, occupation, age, height, weight and the color of eyes and hair of the purchaser or seller.2 The purchaser or seller must sign his or her name to the record, and the pawnbroker or firearms dealer must preserve the record book for six years after the date of last entry and make it available for inspection by law enforcement.3

Vermont has no law requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.

See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4006. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎