Vermont Gun Laws On Concealed Carry
For nearly a century, Vermont gun laws were among the only in the nation that explicitly allowed concealed carry without a permit.
The Vermont Supreme Court established in the 1903 case State v. Rosenthal that the requirement for citizens to carry a concealed pistol only with permission of a mayor or chief of police is "repugnant to the Constitution."
Vermont's minimalist gun laws also preempt municipal and county governments from establishing local firearm and ammunition laws, according to 24 V.S.A. § 2295.
What To Know About Vermont Concealed Carry
Within the state, residents and nonresidents may carry handguns without a permit, but there are restrictions on who may carry and where firearms may be carried.
One may not carry in Vermont if they've been convicted with a violent crime, as per Title 13 Chapter 85 § 4017, unless rights have been restored under 18 U.S.C. § 925(c). Federal prohibitors under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) and (g) still apply.
Weapons are not allowed within Vermont court houses, as per Title 13 Chapter 85 § 4016, or on school property, school buses or in school buildings unless given permission from authorities, according to Title 13 Chapter 85 § 4004.
Deadly weapons may not be carried with the intent of injuring others, per § 4003.
Consider also that furnishing firearms to children under the age of 16 can result in a $10-$50 fine under § 4007 if one isn't an instructor/teacher providing lessons for instructions and drills, and children under the age of 16 generally may not possess or control firearms under § 4008, unless parental permission is granted.
Vermont Concealed Carry Reciprocity
It's free game — with the previously mentioned restrictions, of course. Those traveling to the state should keep in mind locations that bar firearms.
However, Vermont residents may need to apply for a nonresident permit, if offered, when traveling to states that require permits, and will be required to follow the respective state's laws — for example, the age restrictions may be five years higher than Vermont's (21 as opposed to 16). As this isn't legal advice, be sure to contact out-of-state authorities when traveling.
Check out our concealed carry reciprocity map for more information on Vermont's reciprocity with other states.
Vermont Concealed Carry Laws Are A Historic Bookmark On Gun Legislation
Technically, Vermont concealed carry, reinforced by that 1903 case, has always been constitutional carry — not requiring a permit to carry a concealed firearm. They never enacted legislation that restricted carrying concealed firearms.
Many states in early American history had a similar approach, but this changed. Alabama enacted statutes restricting concealed weapons and upheld the law in its supreme court in 1840 in State v. Reid.
Shortly after Indiana became a state, it also enacted similar measures in 1831. Arkansas in 1839 upheld a local firearm statute that limited concealed weapons, "except on a journey." Other states pushed similar measures to this, contained in the Uniform Firearms Act, according to a paper in the Duke Law Scholarship Repository.
It was finally decided in the 1897 Supreme Court case Robertson vs. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275, that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms (Art. II) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons."
Alaska "constitutional carry" law was the second of its kind in the union a century later, but it was still commonly referred to as "Vermont carry" for years afterward.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.