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VICTORY: Vermont Supreme Courts Sides with Giffords Law Center, Other Advocates in Upholding the State’s Ban on Large-Capacity Magazines

Giffords Law Center, GunSense Vermont, and the Vermont Medical Society filed an amicus brief in support of the LCM law 

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

    Washington DC — Today, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence celebrated the decision by the Vermont Supreme Court to reject a white nationalist’s challenge to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines (LCMs) and rule that the law is constitutional. The result is in line with many other federal court decisions that have upheld LCM restrictions under the Second Amendment. 

    Hannah Shearer, Giffords Law Center Litigation Director: 

    “Large-capacity magazines enable shooters to kill more victims more quickly. Vermont acted decisively to protect the safety of its residents by restricting these magazines in response to a Fair Haven high school mass shooting plot discovered the same day a shooter killed 17 students and educators in Parkland, Florida. Today’s Supreme Court victory should make Vermont residents breathe a sigh of relief that these lethal devices won’t be accessible in the state to hateful individuals who want to cause harm. The winners today are victims of domestic violence, people targeted for the color of their skin or identity, and students who worry about a gunman wreaking havoc. It’s also in line with settled precedent from the US Supreme Court on down declaring that Americans’ lawful right to own guns is not unlimited. We have proved yet again that responsible, law-abiding gun owners do not need access to large-capacity magazines to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”  

    The case originated after white supremacist Max Misch was the first person to be charged with violating Vermont’s ban on LCMs. Misch tried to have the charges against him dismissed by arguing the LCM ban violates Vermont’s state version of the Second Amendment. After a trial court rejected his meritless constitutional claim, the prosecutors and defendant jointly agreed to appeal for a final constitutionality ruling with the Vermont Supreme Court.  

    Giffords Law Center filed an amicus briefwith GunSense Vermont and the Vermont Medical Society arguing that the LCM law is constitutional under any standard of review. The brief also pointed out the dangers that LCMs pose in crime and mass shootings and how the law is tailored to address the threat of LCMs without compromising self defense. Counsel for the three amicus groups argued alongside Vermont Solicitor General Ben Battles when the Vermont Supreme Court heard argument in the case in June 2020. Stris & Maher LLP and Downs Rachlin Martin, PLLC served as pro bono counsel on the groups’ amicus brief.


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