Vermont Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

Ruger 17-round mags are illegal in Vermont.

The Vermont Supreme Court last Friday upheld the state’s ban on standard capacity magazines.

The court found that the law, which restricts magazine capacity to 15 rounds for handguns and 10 rounds for long guns, is a “reasonable regulation of the right of the people to bear arms for self-defense.”

Signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott (R) in 2018, the mag ban was part of a larger, national anti-gun push in the wake of the mass killing at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  

Scott and the Democratically-controlled legislature also, at that time, criminalized private transfers, prohibited the possession of bump stocks, allowed for the seizure of firearms from anyone deemed an extreme risk, and outlawed the purchase of firearms for adults under the age of 21.  

Max Misch, an Iraq war veteran, challenged the constitutionality of the magazine restriction after he was cited in 2019 for buying two 30-round rifle magazines in New Hampshire and bringing them back to Vermont.  

In its 51-page ruling, the court examined Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution, the provision dealing with one’s right to keep and bear arms, concluding it “protects a limited right to individual self-defense” and is “subject to reasonable regulation.” 

“Applying this standard,” the justices went on to say, “we conclude that (the law) satisfies the reasonable-regulation test because the statute has a valid purpose of reducing the lethality of mass shootings, the Legislature was within its authority in concluding that the regulation promotes this purpose, and the statute leaves ample means for Vermonters to exercise their right to bear arms in self-defense.”

Gov. Scott briefly commented Friday on the ruling.   

“That doesn’t surprise me,” he told a reporter who had informed him of the decision. “We thought it was constitutional from the start.” 

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, another supporter of the law, argued that it’s here to stay.  

SEE ALSO: ‘Traitorous’ Gov. Phil Scott Catches Hell While Signing Vermont Gun Control Bills

Along with Misch’s case challenging the ban, there was a civil case filed by various pro-gun organizations, including the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Vermont State Rifle & Pistol Association, and Powderhorn Outdoor Sports. 

The court said its ruling on the Misch case “effectively” puts an end to the civil lawsuit brought by those pro-2A groups.

VTFSC President Chris Bradley said he would not “speculate” as to what the organizations would do next. 

George Caldwell, a local gun shop owners, was dismayed by the news.  

“Today’s news of the Vermont Supreme Court upholding the standard capacity magazine ban is unfortunate,” the owner of 802Firearms told NBC5

“This is another piece of legislation that weighs heavily on penalizing the law-abiding citizen while having very little evidence demonstrating its effectiveness,” he continued.  “This type of feel-good virtue signal legislation demonstrates the core disconnect between gun-owners and lawmakers.”

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Patrick D Finnie May 21, 2021, 9:59 am

    What pissed me off the most was not being backstabbed by a Governor that up to that point had been, and proclaimed to be pro-gun rights, but that after turning his back on gun owners, Governor Scott took to the steps of the State Capitol building to sign the legislation in an “in your face” manor . This was an unprecedented event orchestrated to draw a line between “us, and them” in an intentionally politically divisive manner. This selfish act was so calculated that the scenario of there being violence at this “event” was considered, and taken into account by securing surrounding buildings in a manner that included drawing blinds , and having security tell employees to stay away from the windows until the conclusion of the event. Why ? You figure that one out.

  • Cal H February 27, 2021, 11:56 am

    2nd amendment is about a lot more than self defense. Little by little the Demonrats are destroying the 2nd Amendment and this country

  • Jeff February 26, 2021, 12:52 pm

    ATTENTION!!! Everyone needs to know this- NOW!
    TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242

    AND needs to start using it-NOW!

  • Stan d. Upnow February 26, 2021, 12:07 pm

    The Progressive-Socialists have said before, openly, that they would have to realize their ultimate goals on gun control incrementally, because the American people would never tolerate an immediate implementation of their whole agenda. We see that. Why don’t you believe it? DON’T GIVE AN INCH, FOR THEY WILL NEXT DEMAND A FOOT!

  • J Franks February 26, 2021, 10:41 am

    It’s time to start refreshing the tree of liberty.

    I’ve posted this sentiment and other, more blatant statements, many times here and elsewhere but I never check back as I highly doubt that the “moderators” let such talk fly.

    • Jon B February 26, 2021, 4:01 pm

      Better to donate your bodily fluids at the local blood bank.

  • John R. Pyles III February 26, 2021, 6:12 am

    Exactly where does that fall in under the 2ND Amendment and the Bill of Rights (a reasonable regulation), SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED seems pretty straight forward to me. The US Constitution is not up for Interpretation!

  • David February 26, 2021, 6:02 am

    Simple solution. Make it apply to law enforcement and military in Vermont too. If the capacity is “adequate” for self defense, then it is “adequate” for law enforcement and the military too.

    • Pete Skurla February 26, 2021, 7:32 am

      Spot on! How many live would have been saved by this restrictions. Zero!

    • Kane February 26, 2021, 6:02 pm

      Yes, the feds should have to check the high cap mags at the sate border.

  • Area52 February 26, 2021, 5:23 am

    This is bad news. Vermont used to be one of the most pro gun states in the nation. At one time it was the only state that allowed permitless carry conceal of handguns. I thought gun bans were eventually going to get to VT after Sandy Hook event.
    What is really sad is it was a GOP governor that signed it into law. VT elected Bernie Sanders as a socialist. Maybe they can elect a 3rd party pro gun candidate as governor and get this overturned.

  • Taxx73 February 23, 2021, 4:42 pm

    I WILL NOT COMPLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    TRUMP 2024!
    Remember if you come for mine you better bring yours!!

    • Area52 February 26, 2021, 5:26 am

      If gun shops in VT can’t sell them and out of state online vendors won’t ship them to VT; what can you really do, go out of state and buy them in person. Other than that not much to do where you can “not comply’.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) February 23, 2021, 1:54 pm

    Federalism is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? States are the labs of democracy and the more bans on “standard capacity” magazines that endure such challenges, the stronger the case for such common-sense gun violence solutions to take hold on a national level, especially now that we have a President who values the lives of American children more than the NRA’s blood money but is still mature enough to be willing to work with the NRA and their paid-for proxies to find solutions.

    Vermont should be allowed to choose for itself without interference from out-of-state bankrupt lobbyists and billionaire dark money.

    • Drew February 23, 2021, 5:16 pm

      Well, since he is a pedofile of course he loves your children.

      • Taxx73 February 24, 2021, 3:58 pm

        “Bingo!” Drew
        TRUMP 2024!
        Remember if you come for mine you better bring yours!!

        • Blue Dog (he/him) February 25, 2021, 7:55 am

          You chant these mantras with an almost cultic fervor. Like praising Trump is almost something you do with great feeling but no thought. If you say LEAVE OUR RIGHTS ALONE often enough, will more little brown kids get locked in cages? Will chanting “Remember if you come for mine you better bring yours” over and over again keep us out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Does Trump 2024 remind you that slower minds should keep to the right?

          • Winston February 26, 2021, 3:17 am

            DEM handwringers as you do not even know what is going on in at the border. The Obama Admin. started the separate facilities regimine back in their second term. The Biden Admin. started it again this month. People with no ID at all come into the country illegally and if not caught they disperse. Most children are smuggled in without their actual parents. Do you even know how the cartel smugglers work? Go post phony Left religious mythology at Slate or Daily Kos.

          • Jay Smith February 26, 2021, 5:38 am

            What I have to say is , ” Shall not be infringed …. “. How would you like it if your state decided that all vehicles bought by residents of your state could only have 5 gallon gas tanks ? Retroactively applying it also to other vehicles already owned , because someone else thought it reasonable . Nevermind that bordering states can have the factory provided 18-20 + gallon tanks . No , you cannot buy one , but , if you do , you must acquire and install this smaller 5 gallon tank . Sorry , but ALL states that have these kind of restrictions are being unconstitutional, just like any state that has a sanctuary city , is violating federal law . These states should be forced to remedy these violations by removal of all federal funding , until said violations were fixed to the satisfaction of federal authorities . No suing states for being unconstitutional, that’s a waste of taxpayer $$ .. Get Congress /Senate to amend it , THAT is the only constitutional method. PERIOD.

          • Jethead12 February 26, 2021, 6:46 am

            You mean like Beijing Joe locking little brown kids in shipping containers! I thought we weren’t allowing Quebec Canadians on here. She/It/Him

          • REAL America February 26, 2021, 8:45 am

            Little brown illegal vermin still in cages under beijing joe moron…
            And more illegals we get, the more the need for standard capacity magazines

          • Stan d. Upnow February 26, 2021, 11:59 am

            LOL! I have to laugh at you, otherwise I’d scream obscenities. YOU and your fellow Progressive-Socialists are the ones who “chant these mantras with an almost cultic fervor.” Those being the spoon-fed words & phrases that your masters dish-out to raise an unholy chorus of alarmist ignorance.
            There are idiots everywhere to be found, but after years of attempting rational debate with Leftists, I cannot only personally testify as to their “slower minds,” but their typical ignorance on any topic of the moment.

            “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:5

          • Shanz February 26, 2021, 3:54 pm

            More commy trash talk from he/him.
            at least it’s entertaining.

    • paul i will call you what i want/ 1st Amendment February 24, 2021, 4:27 pm

      It’s the people’s right not the state’s! Let us know how when you need help and get put on hold and then have a social worker sent out to protect you works out…….

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