Vermont's gun laws, which are some of the most firearm-friendly in the country, allow most residents to carry an open or a concealed weapon without a permit, and that brand of hospitality extends to the state's visitors — who also can carry their firearms without much, if any, regulation.
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While Vermont traditionally skews towards liberalism; its residents live with gun ownership laws closer to those in conservative southern states.
There is very little gun control — for its residents or its visitors. Visitors can openly carry firearms or they can conceal them without a permit, and they can buy rifles and shotguns in Vermont to take them home as well. Handgun purchases must be shipped through a federal firearms licensee.
But while Vermont is ranked as the safest state in the country by the FBI, there's an ongoing debate in the state about whether to expand background checks for potential gun buyers. In February 2015, hundreds of residents descended upon the state house in Montpelier to debate the potential passage of such a law, which was ultimately defeated. "Mao, Hitler, Stalin and Castro all instituted gun confiscation before they killed their own people," Bob Shea, a Fairfax resident and an opponent of the proposed law, said at the rally, according to the Vermont news website Seven Days.
"We are headed on a slippery slope toward confiscation."
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While any reconsideration in the near future seems unlikely — Gov. Peter Shumlin is a lifelong hunter who opposes the legislation — there are those who wish the laws were even more permissive.
"While Vermont is a great state for gun owners by New England standards, it is not the pro-gun utopia plenty of folks purport it to be," writes Gun & Ammo.
"Vermont essentially has an absence of firearm regulations, which is as it should be — 'Vermont-style carry' is the goal of many states across the nation. However, if one looks deeper into the culture of the state, Vermont can’t measure up to some of its neighbors to the South and West."
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