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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 13 : Crimes and Criminal Procedure


Subchapter 006 : DOMESTIC ASSAULTS

(Cite as: 13 V.S.A. § 1048)
  • § 1048. Removal of firearms

    (a)(1) When a law enforcement officer arrests, cites, or obtains an arrest warrant for a person for domestic assault in violation of this subchapter, the officer may remove any firearm:

    (A) that is contraband or will be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding; or

    (B) that is in the immediate possession or control of the person being arrested or cited, in plain view of the officer at the scene of the alleged domestic assault, or discovered during a lawful search, including under exigent circumstances, if the removal is necessary for the protection of the officer, the alleged victim, the person being arrested or cited, or a family member of the alleged victim or of the person being arrested or cited.

    (2) As used in this section, “family member” means any family member, a household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1101(2), or a child of a family member or household member.

    (b) A person cited for domestic assault shall be arraigned on the next business day after the citation is issued except for good cause shown. Unless the person is held without bail, the State’s Attorney shall request conditions of release for a person cited or lodged for domestic assault.

    (c)(1) At arraignment, the court shall issue a written order releasing any firearms removed pursuant to subdivision (a)(1)(B) of this section unless:

    (A) the firearm is being or may be used as evidence in a pending criminal or civil proceeding;

    (B) a court orders relinquishment of the firearm pursuant to 15 V.S.A. chapter 21 (abuse prevention) or any other provision of law consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), in which case the weapon shall be stored pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2307;

    (C) the person requesting the return is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or

    (D) the court imposes a condition requiring the defendant not to possess a firearm.

    (2) If the court under subdivision (1) of this subsection orders the release of a firearm removed under subdivision (a)(1)(B) of this section, the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm shall make it available to the owner within three business days after receipt of the written order and in a manner consistent with federal law.

    (d)(1) A law enforcement officer shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for acts or omissions made in reliance on the provisions of this section. This section shall not be construed to create a legal duty to a victim or to any other person, and no action may be filed based upon a claim that a law enforcement officer removed or did not remove a firearm as authorized by this section.

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

    (3) This section shall not be construed to limit the authority of a law enforcement agency to take any necessary and appropriate action, including disciplinary action, regarding an officer’s performance in connection with this section.

    (e) This section shall not be construed:

    (1) to prevent a court from prohibiting a person from possessing firearms under any other provision of law;

    (2) to prevent a law enforcement officer from searching for and seizing firearms under any other provision of law; or

    (3) to authorize a warrantless search under any circumstances other than those permitted by this section. (Added 2017, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2018.)