Malcolm Op-ed on Vermont Gun Law in Jurist

In a guest column in Jurist, Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm explores the history of gun law in Vermont.


The current effort to impose more gun controls on Vermont is part of the recent national experience. The landmark cases of District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010, which acknowledged the individual right to keep and bear arms, overturning the strictest gun laws in the country, did not stop the political divide on the issue. While Heller affirmed the right to keep and carry a firearm for self defense and other lawful purposes it left the way open for the retention of gun regulations banning possession by felons and the mentally disturbed and preserving bans on gun carriage in such "sensitive places" as schools and court houses. And although the Heller opinion included the individual right "to bear" as well as "keep" arms since the Washington and Chicago laws that were overturned focused on banning possession, some courts and proponents claimed there was no right to carry a gun outside of the home. Both US Supreme Court cases were decided by 5/4 majorities leaving diehard gun control advocates hopeful they might be reversed. As a result efforts by the District of Columbia and states such as Maryland and New Jersey, for example, have continued to limit gun ownership as narrowly as possible, declaring gun carriage off limits in wide areas and demanding an applicant who wanted to carry a gun demonstrate a "good reason" for carrying a weapon that satisfies the local police.

Vermont: When Armed and Safe Is Not Good Enough, JURIST, May 27, 2015. By Joyce Lee Malcolm.

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