The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 13 : Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Chapter 157 : INSANITY AS A DEFENSE(Cite as: 13 V.S.A. § 4825)
§ 4825. Persons prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms due to mental illness; petition for relief from disability
(a)(1) A person who is prohibited from possessing firearms by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) may petition the Family Division of the Superior Court for an order that the person be relieved from the firearms disability imposed by that section. When the petition is filed, the petitioner shall provide notice and a copy of the petition to the State’s Attorney or the Attorney General, who shall be the respondent in the matter. The petition shall be filed in the county where the offense or the adjudication occurred.
(2)(A) The court shall grant a petition filed under this section without hearing if neither the State’s Attorney nor the Attorney General files an objection within six months after receiving notice of the petition. If the court grants the petition pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall make findings and issue an order in accordance with this section.
(B) The court shall grant the petition filed under this section without hearing if the petitioner and the respondent stipulate to the granting of the petition. The respondent shall file the stipulation with the court, and the court shall make findings and issue an order in accordance with this section.
(b) In determining a petition filed under this section, unless the petition is granted pursuant to subdivision (a)(2) of this subsection, the court shall consider:
(1) the circumstances regarding the firearms disabilities imposed on the person by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4);
(2) the petitioner’s record, including his or her mental health and criminal history records; and
(3) the petitioner’s reputation, as demonstrated by character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.
(c)(1) The court shall grant a petition filed under this section if it finds that the petitioner has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the person is no longer a person in need of treatment as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 7101(17).
(2) As the terms are used in this subsection, a finding that the person is no longer a person in need of treatment shall also mean that granting the relief will not be contrary to the public interest.
(d) If a petition filed under this section is granted, the court shall enter an order declaring that the basis under which the person was prohibited from possessing firearms by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) no longer applies. The court shall inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney General, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System of its decision.
(e) If the court denies the petition, the petitioner may appeal the denial to the Vermont Supreme Court. The appeal shall be on the record, and the Supreme Court may review the record de novo.
(f) If the court denies a petition filed under this section, no further petition shall be filed by the person until at least one year after the order of the trial court, or of the Supreme Court if an appeal is taken, becomes final.
(g) At the time a petition is filed pursuant to this section, the respondent shall give notice of the petition to a victim of the offense, if any, who is known to the respondent. The victim shall have the right to offer the respondent a statement prior to any stipulation or to offer the court a statement. The disposition of the petition shall not be unnecessarily delayed pending receipt of a victim’s statement. The respondent’s inability to locate a victim after a reasonable effort has been made shall not be a bar to granting a petition.
(h) As used in this section, “reasonable effort” means attempting to contact the victim by first-class mail at the victim’s last known address and by telephone at the victim’s last known telephone number. (Added 2015, No. 14, § 7, eff. Oct. 1, 2015.)