Gun Owners of Vermont Sues to Stop New Gun Laws

The group hopes to get an injunction against overreaching firearms restrictions

Published Sunday, September 23, 2018 3:00 pm
Gun Rights Watch article by GRW Chief Editor

The Gun Owners of Vermont

The Gun Owners of Vermont organization is suing the state, the director of the Vermont State Police, the Windham County State’s Attorney, and the state’s Attorney General in an effort to get a judge to force an injunction against the state's overreaching firearms restrictions, which take effect on October 1st. At least two of the provisions of the new gun laws are in obvious direct conflict with both the US Constitution and Vermont's state constitution.

Since April, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the National Rifle Association, the Vermont Traditions Coalition Firearms Policy, and others have all announced lawsuits, with a dizzying array of plaintiffs and defendants. The parts of the law that GoVT is targeting in the case include the new raised age restrictions, the universal background checks and the ban on bump stocks. They are not challenging the magazine limit provision that part of the law already is being challenged by the other groups.

The lawsuit states,

“Despite Vermont’s history of protecting civil rights, and despite its record of nonviolent and responsible firearms use, the government has curtailed the people’s fundamental rights with a flurry of hastily slapped together measures passed and signed into law in 2018. This legislation is a knee-jerk, emotional reaction that solves no problem.”

Vermont's S.55 Gun Control billThe addition to the state of Vermont, the filing names as defendants:

  • Col. Matthew Birmingham, Director of the Vermont State Police
  • Tracey Shriver Kelly, Windham County State’s Attorney
  • TJ Donovan, the Vermont Attorney General

The primary argument for the lawsuit is that all three provisions of S.55 violate the Vermont Constitution's Article 16, which states that “people have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state.”

GRW's view is that in particular, the provision banning the sale of firearms to 18 to 20-year-olds is in direct violation of the state Constitution and the Second Amendment of the US Constitution by barring a particular group of people from exercising their legal rights.

Additionally, the bump stock ban requires the citizenry to either turn in or destroy their own property without compensation, in direct violation of the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment.