FPC: Vermont’s Constitution Protects “Large Capacity” Magazines

Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine
Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important legal brief in the Vermont Supreme Court regarding the State of Vermont’s ban on so-called “large-capacity” magazines. The brief, joined by the Cato Institute and Independence Institute, argues that Vermont’s history and tradition proves that so-called “large capacity” magazines are protected by the Vermont Constitution, and that banning such magazines makes bad policy because they are common and effective arms for defense of self and others. The FPC brief is available online at FPCLegal.org.

Vermont defines a “large-capacity” firearm magazine as a magazine with a capacity of 10 rounds for a long gun or 15 rounds for a handgun. Those magazines, they argue, are both constitutionally protected and effective tools of self-defense.

“Vermont has a remarkable history, which reflects a heavy reliance on firearms and a powerful desire for freedom and independence. This brief provided us with a great opportunity to explore that history, including the heroic Green Mountain Boys, Vermont militia, and Allen brothers,” said FPC Director of Research and brief author, Joseph Greenlee. “Given Vermont’s Founders’ appreciation of firearms and dependence on them, it is impossible that they would have enshrined a constitutional right that allows the government to prohibit some of the most common and effective arms for self-defense.”


  • This case is a challenge to Vermont’s prohibition on “large capacity ammunition feeding devices”—defined as magazines with a capacity of “more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a long gun” or “more than 15 rounds of ammunition for a handgun” (see 13 V.S.A. § 4021).
  • The challenger, Max Misch, argued that the magazine prohibition violates the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Vermont Constitution. The case is currently before the Vermont Supreme Court.
  • FPC filed a brief arguing that the magazine prohibition is unconstitutional, based on the factors the Vermont Supreme Court applies to constitutional challenges.
  • First, the magazine prohibition is contrary to Vermont’s history and tradition, including the social and political setting in which its constitution was ratified. Specifically, firearms with capacities of over 15 rounds have existed since 1580, and were well-known and embraced by America’s Founders; Vermont’s first constitutional arms provision was ratified during the Revolutionary War, which started in response to aggressive British gun controls; and Vermont’s most influential Founders were firearm enthusiasts, arguing that one person could own 20,000 guns and commonly carrying multiple firearms at once to increase ammunition capacity.
  • Second, magazine prohibitions like Vermont’s have been a rarity throughout American history, especially before the Prohibition era.
  • Third, magazine prohibitions make bad public policy. “Large capacity” magazines are effective for self-defense—as the statute’s exemption for law enforcement necessarily concedes—and are rarely used in mass shootings.
  • FPC was joined in the brief by the Firearms Policy Foundation, Cato Institute, and Independence Institute.
  • The brief was authored by FPC’s Director of Research, Joseph Greenlee, along with David Kopel of the Independence Institute, Vermont attorney Ethan Fenn, and Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus of the Cato Institute.

About Firearms Policy CoalitionFirearms Policy Coalition

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

About Firearms Policy FoundationFirearms Policy Foundation logo

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit organization. FPF’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition—especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.

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Green Mtn. Boy

Damned right it is un Constitutional by both Vermont and federal Constitutions.

The last time would be petty tyrants in Vermont tried a run around article 16 of Vermonts constitution in State V Rosenthal,the justices found it null and void and repugnant to the constitution.




And it all seems like a waste of time & resources if the Constitution is the law of the land. SHALL NOT INFRINGE. So simple that a 3rd grader understands it’s meaning. When will we lay to rest the constant battle over 2A ? I do NOT need a panel of officials that I did NOT elect to decide what my RIGHTS are.

Green Mtn. Boy

@ Arny

Correct and Article 16 is even more clearly written than the second, even the average brain dead Leftist should comprehend it.

Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution states:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil …

Dubi Loo

I wish us gun owners would take back the language and stop feeding into the gun grabbers fantasy. Standard capacity magazines instead of “large.” Defensive rifle instead of “assault weapon.” That’s my $0.02


I agree with you. We need to change and redefine the terminology we use. Don’t let the gun-grabbers be the ones who define it.


large capacity magazine, is a scary tactic used by leftists to sway public opinion. communicate to everyone you talk to that the magazine sold with the firearm is the “standard capacity” magazine, not lcm, and many of them have a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
don’t let the leftists control the narrative, we have to use correct verbiage to counter the leftist agenda driven propaganda being put out there.


Arguing over “definitions” of arms and features is irrelevant because the Second Amendment and Article VI defines all regulations and laws that umbrella arms and their features bad laws and bad policies. So a mega capacity rampage ghost rocket propelled fusion pulse cannon cannot be regulated being defined as an arm and components needed to own, operate, and use said arms. SCOTUS needs to be funded to stop the existing unconstitutional laws via Article VI!


Two points. Standard magazines for the AR platform are 20 and 30 rounds. Those are common use magazines and fit the criteria under “Heller.” The second point is: How in the Hell can a communist such as, Bernie Sanders get elected in a state such as Vermont. The voters in Vermont need to retire Sanders.