Vermont Supreme Court upholds limit on gun magazine size

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FILE – In this April 11, 2018 file photo, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott finishes signing a gun restrictions bill on the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. On Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the legality of the portion of the 2018 legislation that restricts the size of large-capacity ammunition magazines for firearms. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, File)

The Vermont Supreme Court has upheld the legality of a Vermont law that restricts the size of large capacity ammunition magazines for firearms.

In a decision released Friday, the court says the law enacted in 2018 is a “reasonable regulation of the right of the people to bear arms for self-defense.”

The ruling came in a case filed by Max Misch, of Bennington, who was charged with buying two, 30-round rifle magazines in New Hampshire and bringing them back to Vermont. The court also used the Misch decision to answer a separate challenge to the law filed by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan said in a statement that the court’s decision “is a win for common sense gun policies and for public safety.” He said the court recognized that large-capacity magazines are are rarely, if ever, used in self-defense.

“Vermont’s ban on large capacity magazines, according to the Court, is a reasonable exercise of the State’s police power and poses a minimal, if any, burden on the right to bear arms,” Donovan said.

The challenge to the high capacity ban stems from a package of gun reforms signed in Apri 2018 by Gov. Phil Scott. The bills also expanded background checks to include private sales, increased the gun purchasing age in Vermont to 2 and banned bump stocks and restricts high capacity magazines.

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