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Searching 2018 Special Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Chapter 085: WEAPONS

  • Subchapter 001: GENERALLY
  • § 4001. Slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles-Use or possession

    A person who uses a slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles or similar weapon against another person, or attempts so to do, or who possesses a slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles, or similar weapon, with intent so to use it, shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. The provisions of this section do not apply to a law enforcement officer as to the possession and use of a blackjack, billy club, or night stick.

  • § 4002. Manufacture, sale, etc.

    A person within the State who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, or sells or gives away or parts with, or offers so to do, or keeps for sale or gift, a slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles, or similar weapon, shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $500.00, or both. This section shall not apply to the manufacture of a blackjack, billy club, or nightstick for a law enforcement officer or the sale or gift thereto. (Amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

  • § 4003. Carrying dangerous weapons

    A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent to injure another shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both. It shall be a felony punishable by not more than 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of $25,000.00, or both, if the person intends to injure multiple persons. (Amended 2017, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 21, 2018.)

  • § 4004. Possession of dangerous or deadly weapon in a school bus or school building or on school property

    (a) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon while within a school building or on a school bus. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

    (b) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon on any school property with the intent to injure another person. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

    (c) This section shall not apply to:

    (1) A law enforcement officer while engaged in law enforcement duties.

    (2) Possession and use of firearms or dangerous or deadly weapons 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.

    (d) As used in this section:

    (1) "School property" means any property owned by a school, including motor vehicles.

    (2) "Owned by the school" means owned, leased, controlled, or subcontracted by the school.

    (3) "Dangerous or deadly weapon" shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

    (4) "Firearm" shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

    (5) "Law enforcement officer" shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

    (e) The provisions of this section shall not limit or restrict any prosecution for any other offense, including simple assault or aggravated assault. (Amended 1989, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2017, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 21, 2018.)

  • § 4005. While committing a crime

    Except as otherwise provided in 18 V.S.A. § 4253, a person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, while committing a felony shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $500.00, or both. (Amended 1967, No. 296 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 20, 1968; 2011, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 9, 2012.)

  • § 4006. Record of firearm sales

    All pawnbrokers and retail merchants dealing in firearms shall keep a record book in which they shall record the sale by them of all revolvers and pistols, and the purchase by them of all secondhand revolvers and pistols. Such record shall include the date of the transaction, the marks of identification of the firearm, including the manufacturer's name, the caliber, model, and manufacturer's number of the firearm, the name, address, birthplace, occupation, age, height, weight, and color of eyes and hair of the purchaser or seller. Such purchaser or seller shall sign his or her name to the record and the pawnbroker or merchant shall preserve such record book for six years after the date of last entry and shall permit all enforcement officers to inspect the same at all reasonable times. A person, partnership or corporation who violates a provision of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00.

  • § 4007. Furnishing firearms to children

    A person, firm, or corporation, other than a parent or guardian, who sells or furnishes to a minor under the age of 16 years a firearm or other dangerous weapon or ammunition for firearms shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $10.00. This section shall not apply to an instructor or teacher who furnishes firearms to pupils for instruction and drill.

  • § 4008. Possession of firearms by children

    A child under the age of 16 years shall not, without the consent of his or her parents or guardian, have in his or her possession or control a pistol or revolver constructed or designed for the use of gunpowder or other explosive substance with leaden ball or shot. A child who violates a provision of this section shall be deemed a delinquent child under the provisions of 33 V.S.A. chapter 52.

  • § 4009. Negligent use of gun

    A person who carelessly or negligently wounds another person by gunshot shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. (Amended 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)

  • § 4010. Gun suppressors

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Gun suppressor" means any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a gun suppressor, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

    (2) "Sport shooting range" shall have the same meaning as used in 10 V.S.A. § 5227(a).

    (b) A person shall not manufacture, make, or import a gun suppressor, except for:

    (1) a licensed manufacturer, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921, who is registered as a manufacturer pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5802;

    (2) a licensed importer, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921, who is registered as an importer pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5802; or

    (3) a person who makes a gun suppressor in compliance with the requirements of 26 U.S.C. § 5822.

    (c) A person shall not use a gun suppressor in the State, except for use by:

    (1) a Level III certified law enforcement officer or Department of Fish and Wildlife employee in connection with his or her duties and responsibilities and in accordance with the policies and procedures of that officer's or employee's agency or department;

    (2) the Vermont National Guard in connection with its duties and responsibilities;

    (3) a licensed manufacturer or a licensed importer, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921, who is also registered as a manufacturer or an importer pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5802, who in the ordinary course of his or her business as a manufacturer or as an importer tests the operation of the gun suppressor; or

    (4) a person lawfully using a sport shooting range.

    (d)(1) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be fined not less than $500.00 for each offense.

    (2) A person who violates subsection (c) of this section shall be fined $50.00 for each offense. (Amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238f, eff. June 3, 2010; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. July 1, 2015; 2015, No. 61, § 15, eff. July 2, 2015.)

  • § 4011. Aiming gun at another

    Any person who shall intentionally point or aim any gun, pistol, or other firearm at or towards another, except in self-defense or in the lawful discharge of official duty, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $50.00. Any person who shall discharge any such firearm so intentionally aimed or pointed shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or fined not more than $100.00, or both.

  • § 4012. Reporting treatment of firearm wounds

    (a) Every physician attending or treating a case of bullet wound, gunshot wound, powder burn, or any other injury arising from or caused by the discharge of a gun, pistol, or other firearm, or whenever such case is treated in a hospital, sanitarium, or other institution, the manager, superintendent, or other person in charge shall report such case at once to local law enforcement officials or the State police. The provisions of this section shall not apply to such wounds, burns, or injuries received by a member of the armed forces of the United States or State of Vermont while engaged in the actual performance of duty.

    (b) A person violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00.

  • § 4013. Zip guns; switchblade knives

    A person who possesses, sells, or offers for sale a weapon commonly known as a "zip" gun, or a weapon commonly known as a switchblade knife, the blade of which is three inches or more in length, shall be imprisoned not more than 90 days or fined not more than $100.00, or both. (Added 1959, No. 151, eff. May 5, 1959; amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

  • § 4014. Purchase of firearms in other states

    Residents of the State of Vermont may purchase rifles and shotguns in another state, provided that such residents conform to the applicable provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and regulations thereunder, as administered by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and provided further that such residents conform to the provisions of law applicable to such purchase in the State of Vermont and in the state in which the purchase is made. (Added 1969, No. 108, § 1, eff. April 19, 1969; amended 2009, No. 54, § 86, eff. June 1, 2009.)

  • § 4015. Purchase of firearms by nonresidents

    Residents of a state other than the State of Vermont may purchase rifles and shotguns in the State of Vermont, provided that such residents conform to the applicable provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and regulations thereunder, as administered by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and provided further that such residents conform to the provisions of law applicable to such purchase in the State of Vermont and in the state in which such persons reside. (Added 1969, No. 108, § 2, eff. April 19, 1969; amended 2009, No. 54, § 87, eff. June 1, 2009.)

  • § 4016. Weapons in court

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Courthouse" means a building or any portion of a building designated by the Supreme Court of Vermont as a courthouse.

    (2) "Dangerous or deadly weapon" means any firearm, or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that in the manner it is used or is intended to be used is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

    (3) "Firearm" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, that will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive and includes any weapon commonly referred to as a pistol, revolver, rifle, gun, machine gun, or shotgun.

    (4) "Law enforcement officer" means a person certified by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council as having satisfactorily completed the approved training programs required to meet the minimum training standards applicable to that person pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2358.

    (5) "Secured building" means a building with controlled points of public access, metal screening devices at each point of public access, and locked compartments, accessible only to security personnel, for storage of checked firearms.

    (b) A person who, while within a courthouse and without authorization from the court,

    (1) carries or has in his or her possession a firearm; or

    (2) knowingly carries or has in his or her possession a dangerous or deadly weapon, other than a firearm, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

    (c) Notice of the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each courthouse.

    (d) No dangerous or deadly weapon shall be allowed in a courthouse that has been certified by the Court Administrator to be a secured building. (Added 1993, No. 45, § 1, eff. June 2, 1993.)

  • § 4017. Persons prohibited from possessing firearms; conviction of violent crime

    (a) A person shall not possess a firearm if the person has been convicted of a violent crime.

    (b) A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (c) This section shall not apply to a person who is exempt from federal firearms restrictions under 18 U.S.C. § 925(c).

    (d) As used in this section:

    (1)(A) "Firearm" means:

    (i) any weapon (including a starter gun) that 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.

    (B) "Firearm" shall not include an antique firearm.

    (2) "Antique firearm" means:

    (A) Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898.

    (B) Any replica of any firearm described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) if the replica:

    (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition; or

    (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition that is no longer manufactured in the United States and that is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

    (C) Any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol that is designed to use black powder or a black powder substitute and that cannot use fixed ammunition. As used in this subdivision (C), "antique firearm" shall not include a weapon that incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, a firearm that is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon that can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

    (3) "Violent crime" means:

    (A)(i) A listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of this title other than:

    (I) lewd or lascivious conduct as defined in section 2601 of this title;

    (II) recklessly endangering another person as defined in section 1025 of this title;

    (III) operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance with either death or serious bodily injury resulting as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 1210(f) and (g);

    (IV) careless or negligent operation resulting in serious bodily injury or death as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 1091(b);

    (V) leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 1128(b) or (c); or

    (VI) a misdemeanor violation of chapter 28 of this title, relating to abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults; or

    (ii) a comparable offense and sentence in another jurisdiction if the offense prohibits the person from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) or 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20).

    (B) An offense involving sexual exploitation of children in violation of chapter 64 of this title, or a comparable offense and sentence in another jurisdiction if the offense prohibits the person from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) or 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20).

    (C) A violation of 18 V.S.A. § 4231(b)(2), (b)(3), or (c)(selling, dispensing, or trafficking cocaine); 4232(b)(2) or (b)(3)(selling or dispensing LSD); 4233(b)(2), (b)(3), or (c)(selling, dispensing, or trafficking heroin); 4234(b)(2) or (b)(3)(selling or dispensing depressants, stimulants, and narcotics); 4234a(b)(2), (b)(3), or (c)(selling, dispensing, or trafficking methamphetamine); 4235(c)(2) or (c)(3)(selling or dispensing hallucinogenic drugs); 4235a(b)(2) or (b)(3)(selling or dispensing Ecstasy), or a comparable offense and sentence in another jurisdiction if the offense prohibits the person from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) or 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20).

    (D) A conviction of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance other than marijuana in another jurisdiction if the offense prohibits the person from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) or 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20). (Added 2015, No. 14, § 1; 2017, No. 83, § 161(3).)

  • § 4018. Drones

    (a) No person shall equip a drone with a dangerous or deadly weapon or fire a projectile from a drone. A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (b) As used in this section:

    (1) "Drone" shall have the same meaning as in 20 V.S.A. § 4621.

    (2) "Dangerous or deadly weapon" shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title. (Added 2015, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Oct. 1, 2016.)

  • § 4019. Firearms transfers; background checks

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Firearm" shall have the same meaning as in subsection 4017(d) of this title.

    (2) "Immediate family member" means a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, stepsibling, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild, step-grandchild, great-grandparent, step-great-grandparent, great-grandchild, and step-great-grandchild.

    (3) "Law enforcement officer" shall have the same meaning as in subdivision 4016(a)(4) of this title.

    (4) "Licensed dealer" means a person issued a license as a dealer in firearms pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(a).

    (5) "Proposed transferee" means an unlicensed person to whom a proposed transferor intends to transfer a firearm.

    (6) "Proposed transferor" means an unlicensed person who intends to transfer a firearm to another unlicensed person.

    (7) "Transfer" means to transfer ownership of a firearm by means of sale, trade, or gift.

    (8) "Unlicensed person" means a person who has not been issued a license as a dealer, importer, or manufacturer in firearms pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(a).

    (b)(1) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an unlicensed person shall not transfer a firearm to another unlicensed person unless:

    (A) the proposed transferor and the proposed transferee physically appear together with the firearm before a licensed dealer and request that the licensed dealer facilitate the transfer; and

    (B) the licensed dealer agrees to facilitate the transfer.

    (2) A person shall not, in connection with the transfer or attempted transfer of a firearm pursuant to this section, knowingly make a false statement or exhibit a false identification intended to deceive a licensed dealer with respect to any fact material to the transfer.

    (c)(1) A licensed dealer who agrees to facilitate a firearm transfer pursuant to this section shall comply with all requirements of State and federal law and shall, unless otherwise expressly provided in this section, conduct the transfer in the same manner as the licensed dealer would if selling the firearm from his or her own inventory, but shall not be considered a vendor.

    (2) A licensed dealer shall return the firearm to the proposed transferor and decline to continue facilitating the transfer if the licensed dealer determines that the proposed transferee is prohibited by federal or State law from purchasing or possessing the firearm.

    (3) A licensed dealer may charge a reasonable fee to facilitate the transfer of a firearm between a proposed transferor and a proposed transferee pursuant to this section.

    (d)(1) An unlicensed person who transfers a firearm to another unlicensed person in violation of subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

    (2) A person who violates subdivision (b)(2) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

    (e) This section shall not apply to:

    (1) the transfer of a firearm by or to a law enforcement agency;

    (2) the transfer of a firearm by or to a law enforcement officer or member of the U.S. Armed Forces acting within the course of his or her official duties;

    (3) the transfer of a firearm from one immediate family member to another immediate family member; or

    (4) a person who transfers the firearm to another person in order to prevent imminent harm to any person, provided that this subdivision shall only apply while the risk of imminent harm exists.

    (f) A licensed dealer who facilitates a firearm transfer pursuant to this section shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability for any actions taken or omissions made when facilitating the transfer in reliance on the provisions of this section. This subsection shall not apply to reckless or intentional misconduct by a licensed dealer. (Added 2017, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4020. Sale of firearms to persons under 21 years of age prohibited

    (a) A person shall not sell a firearm to a person under 21 years of age. A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (b) This section shall not apply to:

    (1) a law enforcement officer;

    (2) an active or veteran member of the Vermont National Guard, of the National Guard of another state, or of the U.S. Armed Forces;

    (3) a person who provides the seller with a certificate of satisfactory completion of a Vermont hunter safety course or an equivalent hunter safety course that is approved by the Commissioner; or

    (4) a person who provides the seller with a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter safety course in another state or a province of Canada that is approved by the Commissioner.

    (c) As used in this section:

    (1) "Firearm" shall have the same meaning as in subsection 4017(d) of this title.

    (2) "Law enforcement officer" shall have the same meaning as in subsection 4016(a) of this title.

    (3) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife. (Added 2017, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4021. Large capacity ammunition feeding devices

    (a) A person shall not manufacture, possess, transfer, offer for sale, purchase, or receive or import into this State a large capacity ammunition feeding device. As used in this subsection, "import" shall not include the transportation back into this State of a large capacity ammunition feeding device by the same person who transported the device out of State if the person possessed the device on or before the effective date of this section.

    (b) A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

    (c)(1) The prohibition on possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices established by subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to a large capacity ammunition feeding device lawfully possessed on or before the effective date of this section.

    (2) The prohibition on possession, transfer, sale, and purchase of large capacity ammunition feeding devices established by subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to a large capacity ammunition feeding device lawfully possessed by a licensed dealer as defined in subdivision 4019(a)(4) of this title prior to April 11, 2018 and transferred by the dealer on or before October 1, 2018.

    (d)(1) This section shall not apply to any large capacity ammunition feeding device:

    (A) manufactured for, transferred to, or possessed by the United States or a department or agency of the United States, or by any state or by a department, agency, or political subdivision of a state;

    (B) transferred to or possessed by a federal law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer certified as a law enforcement officer by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2358, for legitimate law enforcement purposes, whether the officer is on or off duty;

    (C) transferred to a licensee under Title I of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for purposes of establishing and maintaining an on-site physical protection system and security organization required by federal law, or possessed by an employee or contractor of such a licensee on-site for these purposes, or off-site for purposes of licensee-authorized training or transportation of nuclear materials;

    (D) possessed by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency after having been transferred to the individual by the agency upon his or her retirement, provided that the individual is not otherwise prohibited from receiving ammunition;

    (E) manufactured, imported, transferred, or possessed by a manufacturer or importer licensed under 18 U.S.C. chapter 44:

    (i) for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the U.S. Attorney General, or for product development;

    (ii) for repair and return to the person from whom it was received; or

    (iii) for transfer in foreign or domestic commerce for delivery and possession outside the State of Vermont; or

     Subdivision (d)(1)(F) repealed effective July 1, 2019.

    (F) transported by a resident of another state into this State for the exclusive purpose of use in an established shooting competition if the device is lawfully possessed under the laws of another state.

    (2) This section shall not apply to a licensed dealer as defined in subdivision 4019(a)(4) of this title for the sole purpose of transferring or selling a large capacity ammunition feeding device to a person to whom this section does not apply under subdivision (1) of this subsection (d).

    (e)(1) As used in this section, "large capacity ammunition feeding device" means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept:

    (A) more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a long gun; or

    (B) more than 15 rounds of ammunition for a hand gun.

    (2) The term "large capacity ammunition feeding device" shall not include:

    (A) an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition;

    (B) a large capacity ammunition feeding device that is manufactured or sold solely for use by a lever action or bolt action long gun or by an antique firearm as defined in subdivisions 4017(d)(2)(A) and (B) of this title; or

    (C) a large capacity ammunition feeding device that is manufactured or sold solely for use with a firearm that is determined to be a curio or relic by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As used in this subdivision, "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. (Added 2017, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. April 11, 2018; amended 2017, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4022. Bump-fire stocks; possession prohibited

    (a) As used in this section, "bump-fire stock" means 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.

    (b) A person shall not possess a bump-fire stock. A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (c) The Department of Public Safety shall develop, promote, and execute a collection process that permits persons to voluntarily and anonymously relinquish bump-fire stocks prior to the effective date of this section. (Added 2017, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. Oct. 1, 2018.)


  • Subchapter 002: EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDERS
  • § 4051. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Court" means the Family Division of the Superior Court.

    (2) "Dangerous weapon" means an explosive or a firearm.

    (3) "Explosive" means dynamite, or any explosive compound of which nitroglycerin forms a part, or fulminate in bulk or dry condition, or blasting caps, or detonating fuses, or blasting powder or any other similar explosive. The term does not include a firearm or ammunition therefor or any components of ammunition for a firearm, including primers, smokeless powder, or black gunpowder.

    (4) "Federally licensed firearms dealer" means a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer required to conduct national instant criminal background checks under 18 U.S.C. § 922(t).

    (5) "Firearm" shall have the same meaning as in subsection 4017(d) of this title.

    (6) "Law enforcement agency" means the Vermont State Police, a municipal police department, or a sheriff's department. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4052. Jurisdiction and venue

    (a) The Family Division of the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction over proceedings under this subchapter.

    (b) Emergency orders under section 4054 of this title may be issued by a judge of the Criminal, Civil, or Family Division of the Superior Court.

    (c) Proceedings under this chapter shall be commenced in the county where the law enforcement agency is located, the county where the respondent resides, or the county where the events giving rise to the petition occur. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4053. Petition for extreme risk protection order

    (a) A State's Attorney or the Office of the Attorney General may file a petition requesting that the court issue an extreme risk protection order prohibiting a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or having a dangerous weapon within the person's custody or control. The petitioner shall submit an affidavit in support of the petition.

    (b) Except as provided in section 4054 of this title, the court shall grant relief only after notice to the respondent and a hearing. The petitioner shall have the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

    (c)(1) A petition filed pursuant to this section shall allege that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control.

    (2)(A) An extreme risk of harm to others may be shown by establishing that:

    (i) the respondent has inflicted or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another; or

    (ii) by his or her threats or actions the respondent has placed others in reasonable fear of physical harm to themselves; or

    (iii) by his or her actions or inactions the respondent has presented a danger to persons in his or her care.

    (B) An extreme risk of harm to himself or herself may be shown by establishing that the respondent has threatened or attempted suicide or serious bodily harm.

    (3) The affidavit in support of the petition shall state:

    (A) the specific facts supporting the allegations in the petition;

    (B) any dangerous weapons the petitioner believes to be in the respondent's possession, custody, or control; and

    (C) whether the petitioner knows of an existing order with respect to the respondent under 15 V.S.A. chapter 21 (abuse prevention orders) or 12 V.S.A. chapter 178 (orders against stalking or sexual assault).

    (d) The court shall hold a hearing within 14 days after a petition is filed under this section. Notice of the hearing shall be served pursuant to section 4056 of this title concurrently with the petition and any ex parte order issued under section 4054 of this title.

    (e)(1) The court shall grant the petition and issue an extreme risk protection order if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control.

    (2) An order issued under this subsection shall prohibit a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or having a dangerous weapon within the person's custody or control for a period of up to six months. The order shall be signed by the judge and include the following provisions:

    (A) A statement of the grounds for issuance of the order.

    (B) The name and address of the court where any filings should be made, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, the date and time of the order, and the date and time the order expires.

    (C) A description of how to appeal the order.

    (D) A description of the requirements for relinquishment of dangerous weapons under section 4059 of this title.

    (E) A description of how to request termination of the order under section 4055 of this title. The court shall include with the order a form for a motion to terminate the order.

    (F) A statement directing the law enforcement agency, approved federally licensed firearms dealer, or other person in possession of the firearm to release it to the owner upon expiration of the order.

    (G) A statement in substantially the following form:

    "To the subject of this protection order: This order shall be in effect until the date and time stated above. If you have not done so already, you are required to surrender all dangerous weapons in your custody, control, or possession to [insert name of law enforcement agency], a federally licensed firearms dealer, or a person approved by the court. While this order is in effect, you are not allowed to purchase, possess, or receive a dangerous weapon; attempt to purchase, possess, or receive a dangerous weapon; or have a dangerous weapon in your custody or control. You have the right to request one hearing to terminate this order during the period that this order is in effect, starting from the date of this order. You may seek the advice of an attorney regarding any matter connected with this order."

    (f) If the court denies a petition filed under this section, the court shall state the particular reasons for the denial in its decision.

    (g) No filing fee shall be required for a petition filed under this section.

    (h) Form petitions and form orders shall be provided by the Court Administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

    (i) When findings are required under this section, the court shall make either written findings of fact or oral findings of fact on the record.

    (j) Every final order issued under this section shall bear the following language: "VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 4058, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH."

    (k) Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language: "MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 4058."  (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4054. Emergency relief; temporary ex parte order

    (a)(1) A State's Attorney or the Office of the Attorney General may file a motion requesting that the court issue an extreme risk protection order ex parte, without notice to the respondent. A law enforcement officer may notify the court that an ex parte extreme risk protection order is being requested pursuant to this section, but the court shall not issue the order until after the motion is submitted.

    (2) The petitioner shall submit an affidavit in support of the motion alleging that the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control. The affidavit shall state:

    (A) the specific facts supporting the allegations in the motion, including the imminent danger posed by the respondent; and

    (B) any dangerous weapons the petitioner believes to be in the respondent's possession, custody, or control.

    (b)(1) The court shall grant the motion and issue a temporary ex parte extreme risk protection order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time the order is requested the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control. The petitioner shall cause a copy of the order to be served on the respondent pursuant to section 4056 of this title, and the court shall deliver a copy to the holding station.

    (2)(A) An extreme risk of harm to others may be shown by establishing that:

    (i) the respondent has inflicted or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another; or

    (ii) by his or her threats or actions the respondent has placed others in reasonable fear of physical harm to themselves; or

    (iii) by his or her actions or inactions the respondent has presented a danger to persons in his or her care.

    (B) An extreme risk of harm to himself or herself may be shown by establishing that the respondent has threatened or attempted suicide or serious bodily harm.

    (c)(1) Unless the petition is voluntarily dismissed pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, the court shall hold a hearing within 14 days after the issuance of a temporary ex parte extreme risk protection order to determine if a final extreme risk protection order should be issued. If not voluntarily dismissed, the temporary ex parte extreme risk protection order shall expire when the court grants or denies a motion for an extreme risk protection order under section 4053 of this title.

    (2) The prosecutor may voluntarily dismiss a motion filed under this section at any time prior to the hearing if the prosecutor determines that the respondent no longer poses an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control. If the prosecutor voluntarily dismisses the motion pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall vacate the temporary ex parte extreme risk protection order and direct the person in possession of the dangerous weapon to return it to the respondent consistent with section 4059 of this title.

    (d)(1) An order issued under this section shall prohibit a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or having a dangerous weapon within the person's custody or control for a period of up to 14 days. The order shall be in writing and signed by the judge and shall include the following provisions:

    (A) A statement of the grounds for issuance of the order.

    (B) The name and address of the court where any filings should be made, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, the date and time of the order, and the date and time the order expires.

    (C) The date and time of the hearing when the respondent may appear to contest the order before the court. This opportunity to contest shall be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible, which in no event shall be more than 14 days after the date of issuance of the order.

    (D) A description of the requirements for relinquishment of dangerous weapons under section 4059 of this title.

    (E) A statement in substantially the following form:

    "To the subject of this protection order: This order shall be in effect until the date and time stated above. If you have not done so already, you are required to surrender all dangerous weapons in your custody, control, or possession to [insert name of law enforcement agency], a federally licensed firearms dealer, or a person approved by the court. While this order is in effect, you are not allowed to purchase, possess, or receive a dangerous weapon; attempt to purchase, possess, or receive a dangerous weapon; or have a dangerous weapon in your custody or control. A hearing will be held on the date and time noted above to determine if a final extreme risk prevention order should be issued. Failure, to appear at that hearing may result in a court making an order against you that is valid for up to six months. You may seek the advice of an attorney regarding any matter connected with this order."

    (2)(A) The court may issue an ex parte extreme risk protection order by telephone or by reliable electronic means pursuant to this subdivision if requested by the petitioner.

    (B) Upon receipt of a request for electronic issuance of an ex parte extreme risk protection order, the judicial officer shall inform the petitioner that a signed or unsigned motion and affidavit may be submitted electronically. The affidavit shall be sworn to or affirmed by administration of the oath over the telephone to the petitioner by the judicial officer. The administration of the oath need not be made part of the affidavit or recorded, but the judicial officer shall note on the affidavit that the oath was administered.

    (C) The judicial officer shall decide whether to grant or deny the motion and issue the order solely on the basis of the contents of the motion and the affidavit or affidavits provided. If the motion is granted, the judicial officer shall immediately sign the original order, enter on its face the exact date and time it is issued, and transmit a copy to the petitioner by reliable electronic means. The petitioner shall cause a copy of the order to be served on the respondent pursuant to section 4056 of this title.

    (D) On or before the next business day after the order is issued:

    (i) the petitioner shall file the original motion and affidavit with the court; and

    (ii) the judicial officer shall file the signed order, the motion, and the affidavit with the clerk. The clerk shall enter the documents on the docket immediately after filing.

    (e) Form motions and form orders shall be provided by the Court Administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

    (f) Every order issued under this section shall bear the following language: "VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 4058, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH."

    (g) Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language: "MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 4058."

    (h) If the court denies a petition filed under this section, the court shall state the particular reasons for the denial in its decision. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4055. Termination and renewal motions

    (a)(1) The respondent may file a motion to terminate an extreme risk protection order issued under section 4053 of this title or an order renewed under subsection (b) of this section. A motion to terminate shall not be filed more than once during the effective period of the order. The State shall have the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

    (2) The court shall grant the motion and terminate the extreme risk protection order unless it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent continues to pose an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control.

    (b)(1) A State's Attorney or the Office of the Attorney General may file a motion requesting that the court renew an extreme risk protection order issued under this section or section 4053 of this title for an additional period of up to six months. The motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall be filed not more than 30 days and not less than 14 days before the expiration date of the order. The motion and affidavit shall comply with the requirements of subsection 4053(c) of this title, and the moving party shall have the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

    (2) The court shall grant the motion and renew the extreme risk protection order for an additional period of up to six months if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent continues to pose an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent's custody or control. The order shall comply with the requirements of subdivision 4053(e)(2) and subsections 4053(j) and (k) of this title.

    (c) The court shall hold a hearing within 14 days after a motion to terminate or a motion to renew is filed under this section. Notice of the hearing shall be served pursuant to section 4056 of this title concurrently with the motion.

    (d) If the court denies a motion filed under this section, the court shall state the particular reasons for the denial in its decision.

    (e) Form termination and form renewal motions shall be provided by the Court Administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

    (f) When findings are required under this section, the court shall make either written findings of fact or oral findings of fact on the record. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4056. Service

    (a) A petition, ex parte temporary order, or final order issued under this subchapter shall be served in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and may be served by any law enforcement officer. A court that issues an order under this chapter during court hours shall promptly transmit the order electronically or by other means to a law enforcement agency for service, and shall deliver a copy to the holding station.

    (b) A respondent who attends a hearing held under section 4053, 4054, or 4055 of this title at which a temporary or final order under this subchapter is issued and who receives notice from the court on the record that the order has been issued shall be deemed to have been served. A respondent notified by the court on the record shall be required to adhere immediately to the provisions of the order. However, even when the court has previously notified the respondent of the order, the court shall transmit the order for additional service by a law enforcement agency.

    (c) Extreme risk protection orders shall be served by the law enforcement agency at the earliest possible time and shall take precedence over other summonses and orders. Orders shall be served in a manner calculated to ensure the safety of the parties. Methods of service that include advance notification to the respondent shall not be used. The person making service shall file a return of service with the court stating the date, time, and place at which the order was delivered personally to the respondent.

    (d) If service of a notice of hearing issued under section 4053 or 4055 of this title cannot be made before the scheduled hearing, the court shall continue the hearing and extend the terms of the order upon request of the petitioner for such additional time as it deems necessary to achieve service on the respondent. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4057. Procedure

    (a) Except as otherwise specified, proceedings commenced under this subchapter shall be in accordance with the Vermont Rules for Family Proceedings and shall be in addition to any other available civil or criminal remedies.

    (b) The Court Administrator shall establish procedures to ensure access to relief after regular court hours or on weekends and holidays. The Court Administrator is authorized to contract with public or private agencies to assist petitioners to seek relief and to gain access to Superior Courts. Law enforcement agencies shall assist in carrying out the intent of this section.

    (c) The Court Administrator shall ensure that the Superior Court has procedures in place so that the contents of orders and pendency of other proceedings can be known to all courts for cases in which an extreme risk protection order proceeding is related to a criminal proceeding. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4058. Enforcement; criminal penalties

    (a) Law enforcement officers are authorized to enforce orders issued under this chapter. Enforcement may include collecting and disposing of dangerous weapons pursuant to section 4059 of this title and making an arrest in accordance with the provisions of Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.

    (b)(1) A person who intentionally commits an act prohibited by a court or fails to perform an act ordered by a court, in violation of an extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to section 4053, 4054, or 4055 of this title, after the person has been served with notice of the contents of the order as provided for in this subchapter, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (2) A person who files a petition for an extreme risk protection order under this subchapter, or who submits an affidavit accompanying the petition, knowing that information in the petition or the affidavit is false, or that the petition or affidavit is submitted with the intent to harass the respondent, shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (c) In addition to the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, violation of an order issued under this subchapter may be prosecuted as criminal contempt under Rule 42 of Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure. The prosecution for criminal contempt may be initiated by the State's Attorney in the county in which the violation occurred. The maximum penalty that may be imposed under this subsection shall be a fine of $1,000.00 or imprisonment for six months, or both. A sentence of imprisonment upon conviction for criminal contempt may be stayed, in the discretion of the court, pending the expiration of the time allowed for filing notice of appeal or pending appeal if any appeal is taken. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4059. Relinquishment, storage, and return of dangerous weapons

    (a) A person who is required to relinquish a dangerous weapon other than a firearm in the person's possession, custody, or control by an extreme risk protection order issued under section 4053, 4054, or 4055 of this title shall upon service of the order immediately relinquish the dangerous weapon to a cooperating law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency shall transfer the weapon to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for proper disposition.

    (b)(1) A person who is required to relinquish a firearm in the person's possession, custody, or control by an extreme risk protection order issued under section 4053, 4054, or 4055 of this title shall, unless the court orders an alternative relinquishment pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, upon service of the order immediately relinquish the firearm to a cooperating law enforcement agency or an approved federally licensed firearms dealer.

    (2)(A) The court may order that the person relinquish a firearm to a person other than a cooperating law enforcement agency or an approved federally licensed firearms dealer unless the court finds that relinquishment to the other person will not adequately protect the safety of any person.

    (B) A person to whom a firearm is relinquished pursuant to subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) shall execute an affidavit on a form approved by the Court Administrator stating that the person:

    (i) acknowledges receipt of the firearm;

    (ii) assumes responsibility for storage of the firearm until further order of the court and specifies the manner in which he or she will provide secure storage;

    (iii) is not prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under State or federal law; and

    (iv) understands the obligations and requirements of the court order, including the potential for the person to be subject to civil contempt proceedings pursuant to subdivision (C) of this subdivision (2) if the person permits the firearm to be possessed, accessed, or used by the person who relinquished the item or by any other person not authorized by law to do so.

    (C) A person to whom a firearm is relinquished pursuant to subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) shall be subject to civil contempt proceedings under 12 V.S.A. chapter 5 if the person permits the firearm to be possessed, accessed, or used by the person who relinquished the item or by any other person not authorized by law to do so. In the event that the person required to relinquish the firearm or any other person not authorized by law to possess the relinquished item obtains access to, possession of, or use of a relinquished item, all relinquished items shall be immediately transferred to the possession of a law enforcement agency or approved federally licensed firearms dealer pursuant to subdivision (b)(1) of this section.

    (c) A law enforcement agency or an approved federally licensed firearms dealer that takes possession of a firearm pursuant to subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall photograph, catalogue, and store the item in accordance with standards and guidelines established by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2307(i)(3).

    (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the lawful sale of firearms or other items.

    (e) An extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to section 4053 of this title or renewed pursuant to section 4055 of this title shall direct the law enforcement agency, approved federally licensed firearms dealer, or other person in possession of a firearm under subsection (b) of this section to release it to the owner upon expiration of the order.

    (f)(1) A law enforcement agency, an approved federally licensed firearms dealer, or any other person who takes possession of a firearm for storage purposes pursuant to this section shall not release it to the owner without a court order unless the firearm is to be sold pursuant to subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection. If a court orders the release of a firearm stored under this section, the law enforcement agency or firearms dealer in possession of the firearm shall make it available to the owner within three business days after receipt of the order and in a manner consistent with federal law.

    (2)(A)(i) If the owner fails to retrieve the firearm within 90 days after the court order releasing it, the firearm may be sold for fair market value. Title to the firearm shall pass to the law enforcement agency or firearms dealer for the purpose of transferring ownership, except that the Vermont State Police shall follow the procedure described in 20 V.S.A. § 2305.

    (ii) The law enforcement agency or firearms dealer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the sale before it occurs. In no event shall the sale occur until after the court issues a final extreme risk protection order pursuant to section 4053 of this title.

    (iii) As used in this subdivision (2)(A), "reasonable effort" shall mean notice shall be served as provided for by Rule 4 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.

    (B) Proceeds from the sale of a firearm pursuant to subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) shall be apportioned as follows:

    (i) associated costs, including the costs of sale and of locating and serving the owner, shall be paid to the law enforcement agency or firearms dealer that incurred the cost; and

    (ii) any proceeds remaining after payment is made to the law enforcement agency or firearms dealer pursuant to subdivision (i) of this subdivision (2)(B) shall be paid to the original owner.

    (g) A law enforcement agency shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for any damage or deterioration of a firearm stored or transported pursuant to this section. This subsection shall not apply if the damage or deterioration occurred as a result of recklessness, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct by the law enforcement agency.

    (h) This section shall be implemented consistent with the standards and guidelines established by the Department of Public Safety under 20 V.S.A. § 2307(i).

    (i) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter:

    (1) A dangerous weapon shall not be returned to the respondent if the respondent's possession of the weapon would be prohibited by state or federal law.

    (2) A dangerous weapon shall not be taken into possession pursuant to this section if it is being or may be used as evidence in a pending criminal matter. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4060. Appeals

    An extreme risk protection order issued by the court under section 4053 or 4055 of this title shall be treated as a final order for the purposes of appeal. Appeal may be taken by either party to the Supreme Court under the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the appeal shall be determined forthwith. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)

  • § 4061. Effect on other laws

    This chapter shall not be construed to prevent a court from prohibiting a person from possessing firearms under any other provision of law. (Added 2017, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 11, 2018.)