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Chapter I, Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution states:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves and the State — and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.1

The Vermont Supreme Court has asserted that Chapter 1, article 16 “does not suggest that the right to bear arms is unlimited and undefinable.”2 In State v. Duranleau, the Vermont Supreme Court rejected an article 16 challenge to Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, § 4705(b), which prohibits the possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle on a public highway without a permit.3 The court noted that section 4705(b) does not “literally prohibit the ‘bearing’ of any arms, but only requires that, when rifles and shotguns are carried in…vehicles on public highways…they be unloaded.”4 Accordingly, the court ruled that the law was not “such an infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms as to make the statute invalid.”5


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  1. Vt. Const. Ch. I, Art. 16.[]
  2. State v. Duranleau , 260 A.2d 383, 386 (Vt. 1969).[]
  3. Id.[]
  4. Id.[]
  5. Id.[]