Buying Ammo and Guns in Vermont

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece dives into the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in the state of Vermont. To do so, the piece begins with the ammo laws with a focus on the regulations on shipping ammunition to a residential address in the state. From there, the piece turns to the firearms laws both in terms of purchasing firearms and the rules governing the carriage of firearms in the state. The piece wraps up with some resources that we think will be useful to those who want to legally buy, own, and carry guns and ammunition in Vermont.

We do not intend this piece as legal advice and instead hope that you find the information here useful in making your own decisions.

Vermont, like most states, has preemption. This means that the state has a law that prohibits smaller political subunits, such as counties, cities, and towns, from making and enforcing their own gun laws that are stricter than those at the state level. This is good news for law-abiding gun owners, in that it means that once you understand the laws at the state level, that understanding actually applies to the entire state.

Vermont is a somewhat permissive state in terms of its firearms and ammo laws. The ammo laws are among the most permissive in the country, as are the regulations around the carriage of a firearm. With that said, Vermont has begun to pass laws that limit firearms purchases, and this indicates that the state might well become less permissive over time. This is a case where the state was historically very permissive, but the political tides are in the process of changing directions. 

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Vermont

First, we will cover the ammo laws in Vermont. 

Vermont’s ammunition laws are highly permissive. The state does not have any major ammunition bans on the books and does not do much to regulate ammunition beyond those regulations that are set at the federal level. 

The ATF sets two major rules for those who wish to purchase ammunition anywhere in the USA. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen years of age or older to purchase long gun ammunition (for rifles and shotguns) and at least twenty-one to purchase ammo for a handgun. Secondly, buyers cannot be prohibited persons, which the ATF defines as those who have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence, people who have been found mentally unfit in a court of law, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution for inpatient treatment.

Assuming that the buyer meets both of those requirements, Vermont is fine with having ammunition shipped to a residential address. Carriers might impose their own rules, though, such as asking for someone with a valid ID to be present to sign for a package containing ammunition.

Vermont does not regulate ammunition meaningfully beyond the baseline of the relevant federal laws, making the ammo laws of this state highly permissive. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Vermont. 

Next, we will do the same for gun laws.

Vermont’s gun laws do not follow any consistent pattern in terms of their consistency. In some regards, the state is highly permissive. There is, for instance, no assault weapons ban in the state as of the time of this writing, and the state is not only okay with its residents owning NFA items such as machine guns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns, but the state passed a law reaffirming people’s rights to own suppressors.

With that level of permissiveness, some of the newer laws seem contradictory. There is a magazine ban in the state: handgun magazines cannot have more than ten rounds, and rifle magazines cannot have more than fifteen rounds of capacity. More recently, a law passed (without the governor’s signature) that implements a 72-hour waiting period for all gun transfers, mandates safe storage of a firearm, and makes it easier for judges to order that someone can have their firearms seized without a conviction that would make them a prohibited person.

Currently, buying a firearm in the state starts with the federal process. The buyer should bring both a valid form of ID with their current address, and a form of payment, to the local gun store. From there, the FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF Form 4473 to run a background check and record the purchase as per federal law.  Here is where Vermont’s new law becomes relevant: once the background check clears and the payment has been accepted, the buyer has to wait 72 hours to pick up the gun. It is a short waiting period as far as such periods go, but it does make the state much less permissive.

Because of the 72-hour waiting period, private-party sales of firearms now have to be facilitated by FFLS in the state. Thus while there is no law mandating private-sale background checks, the waiting period law institutes such background checks as the FFL will have the buyer fill out a 4473 for the transfer of the firearm from the FFL to the new buyer, even if the gun came from a private seller in the first place. Though the law is new, it is likely that FFLs will charge for this service.

Seemingly at odds with the new gun laws, Vermont might be the most permissive state in the country in terms of its carriage of firearms: the state is fine with its residents carrying firearms both openly and concealed, and no permit is required for either. In fact, the state does not issue concealed carry permits at all. While this makes life exceptionally easy for those who never leave Vermont, there’s a catch: because there is no Vermont permit, people from Vermont can only carry a firearm legally in other states with either permitless carry, or states that offer non resident permits, that the Vermont resident would have to apply for and get. So, it is very simple to carry a firearm in Vermont, but this simplicity, paradoxically, makes it harder for Vermont residents to carry guns anywhere but in the small state.

All states have a list of places where it is illegal to carry guns, and Vermont is no exception. This list includes:

  • Courthouses

  • Hospitals 

  • Private land without owner's permission

  • Game reserves without valid hunting tags

  • Public buildings with posted signs

This list is not an unusual one and is among the shortest in the nation. Also, it is illegal to carry guns on most federal property, which includes your local post office.

Vermont’s ammo and firearms laws are a study in contradictions. In some regards, the state is the most permissive in the country. In others, the state is growing more strict. The major take-home point here is that Vermont used to be extremely permissive and is now growing less permissive over time. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Vermont. 

The sales tax rate in Vermont is 6%, and some localities have an additional 1% in taxes, making the effective sales tax rate in the state 7% in some spots. This is a small variance, and thus it is not likely worth shopping for an FFL in one of the lower-taxed areas.

Vermont does not impose additional, special taxes on firearms and ammunition.

More Resources:

Here are some resources that we think you’ll find useful in Vermont: 

  • The ATF publishes a listing of all FFLs within a given state, and this list is updated somewhat regularly. It can be used to find local gun stores, which are usually Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • is an excellent tool for finding ranges that are convenient to you. Use the zip code, city, and mileage filters to find spots to shoot. Users can add more ranges, and the information is regularly checked for accuracy. 

  • Vermont has a number of well-rated gun stores.

  • The Vermont firearms subreddit is a good place to discuss the changing landscape of gun ownership in the state.

Vermont Gun Law FAQ:

As long as the buyer meets federal age requirements (18 for long gun ammo and 21 for handgun ammo) and is not a prohibited person, it is legal to have ammo shipped to a home in Vermont.

Almost certainly yes: the state allows for the open and concealed carriage of firearms by all adults and does not even issue a concealed carry permit.

Not yet, but the state does ban large-capacity magazines and just passed a 72-hour waiting period law. 

The state is still fairly gun-friendly, though the state legislature is passing more restrictive laws at an increasing pace.

Technically yes, but the sale will have to be facilitated by an FFL to comply with the new waiting period law.