Skip to Main Content
Last updated .

Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.

Before 2015, Vermont had not adopted any classes of prohibited persons broader than those set forth under federal law (and had not made sales to those purchasers a state crime). However, between 2015 and 2023, the state added several categories of people who are prohibited from possessing firearms. A person is prohibited from firearm possession if they:

  • Have been convicted of certain enumerated violent crimes including domestic assault and stalking offenses;1
  • Are subject to an Extreme Risk Protection Order;2
  • Are a fugitive from justice defined as a person who has fled to avoid prosecution for a crime or to avoid giving testimony in a criminal proceeding;3
  • Are the subject of a final relief from abuse order, including dating partners;4
  • Are the subject of a final order against stalking if the order prohibits the person from possessing a firearm;5 or
  • Have charges are pending for:6
    • Carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a felony;
    • Trafficking a regulated drug in violation of state law; or
    • Human trafficking or aggravated human trafficking in violation of state law.

A Vermont court may, as a condition of probation, require that an offender or juvenile offender refrain from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition without written permission from the court, probation officer, or juvenile probation officer.7

Vermont has no laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms by:

  • Persons with a history of impairing mental illness;
  • People with drug or alcohol use disorders; or
  • Juvenile offenders.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Vermont Background Check Procedures section.


Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at

  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, §§ 4017; 5301(7[]
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4051, et seq. (enacted by 2017 VT S 221).[]
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017a.[]
  4. Id.; Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 1101(2[]
  5. Id.[]
  6. Id.[]
  7. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 28, § 252(b)(8), tit. 33, § 5262(b)(4).[]