Vermont Gun Laws

Of all the United States, Vermont has one of the lowest restrictions on firearms. No state permit is necessary to purchase rifles, handguns, or shotguns. Rifles, shotguns, and handguns do not need to be registered. Vermont does not have an assault weapon law for any kind of firearm. Firearm owners are not required to be licensed to have rifles, shotguns, or handguns.

Vermont LawsNo permits are needed to carry handguns, rifles, or shotguns. No permit is necessary to carry a concealed weapon and no open carry permit is needed. There are not NFA weapons restrictions for Vermont shotguns, rifles, or handguns. There are, however, state preemptions for local restrictions for both handguns and long guns. No restrictions through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Check system are necessary for firearm transactions.

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.

Gun Control Laws

Because Vermont has so little restriction on firearms, only certain laws apply. It is a state requirement that all gun dealers keep filed records of any and all handguns purchases. Vermont citizens are prohibited from carrying a firearm onto courthouse property or school property. Vermont law prevents local law enforcement from regulating the transfer of, the possession of, the registration of, the ownership of, or the licensing of any kind of firearm.

Vermont allows state citizens to carry concealed firearms or openly carry firearms without requiring a permit, which is called the Vermont Carry. A majority of the United States do not allow non-residents to possess or obtain firearms under some circumstances or at all. Vermont instead does not distinguish a difference between those who are state residents and those who are not state residents. Vermont law allows all individuals inside state borders to fully use their rights to bear arms without restriction.

Firearm Freedoms

Vermont was made the fourteenth state in 1791 and soon adopted a constitution that was based on the Bill or Rights and the United States Constitution. The 1793 constitution guarantees the necessary freedoms for citizens and allows individuals the right to bear arms for self-defense. Vermont law takes this constitution very literally, even over two hundred years later.

Possessing Weapons

Most states require that individuals be at least eighteen years of age to possess a firearm. Vermont stipulates that individuals only need to be of age to possess a firearm. This age is sixteen. After the age of sixteen, an individual is permitted to lawfully purchase firearms and to possess a loaded firearm on him or herself while in public. Those who are under the age of sixteen first need to acquire parental or guardian permission to carry a loaded firearm. Minors who do not obtain the proper permission will be subject to juvenile delinquent matters through the state.

Felony offense convictions and being dishonorably discharged from the military will prohibit individuals from purchasing firearms when a federal instant check is run. Other infractions and illegal activities will also prohibit individuals from possessing firearms. Taking a concealed weapon on school or courthouse property will result in a year of imprisonment or a fine of one thousand dollars. All firearms are to remain concealed unless being used for self-defense purposes.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

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

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.

Open Carry Vermont

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.

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.

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

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