In 2018, Vermont enacted legislation to close the dangerous “private sale” loophole by requiring most gun sales or transfers to be processed by a licensed firearms dealer, pursuant to a point-of-sale background check.1
Subject to certain exceptions (discussed below), Vermont’s law now requires an unlicensed seller and prospective recipient to appear together with the firearm at the premises of a licensed dealer to request that the dealer process the sale or transfer and conduct the required background check.2 The dealer will then take possession of the firearm and complete the sale or transfer in the same manner as the dealer would if selling the firearm from his or her own inventory, meaning that the dealer will conduct a background check on the prospective recipient and maintain a record of the firearm sale or transfer.3 The dealer may charge a reasonable fee for conducting the background check and processing the gun transfer.4 The dealer must return the gun to the seller if the prospective recipient does not pass the background check.5
Vermont’s exempts certain sales or transfers from these requirements, including:6
- the transfer of a firearm by or to a law enforcement agency;
- the transfer of a firearm by or to a law enforcement officer or a member of the U.S. Armed Forces acting within the course of his or her official duties;
- the transfer of a firearm from one immediate family member to another immediate family member;7 or
- a person who transfers the firearm to another person in order to prevent imminent harm to any person, provided that this exception only applies while the risk of imminent harm exists.
This 2018 law also makes it a crime, in connection with the transfer or attempted transfer of a firearm, to 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 of the firearm.8
See our Universal Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019, enacted by 2017 SB 55, Sec. 6.
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(b).
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(c)(1).
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(c)(3).
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(c)(2).
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(e).
- “Immediate family member” means a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, stepsibling, grandparent, stepgrandparent, grandchild, stepgrandchild, greatgrandparent, stepgreatgrandparent, greatgrandchild, and stepgreatgrandchild. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(a)(2).
- Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019(b)(2).