MONTPELIER — Vermonters who need to remove firearms from their homes now have access to a renewed program that provides safe storage at sites statewide, the Vermont State Police and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office announced today in a statement.
Under the Firearms Storage Program, eight federally licensed firearms dealers in the state have signed up to accept firearms for temporary storage because of a protection order or for other safekeeping reasons.
“When a protection order has been issued requiring the relinquishment of firearms, or for a host of other reasons, Vermonters need safe, secure and convenient options to store their weapons,” Commissioner of Public Safety Jennifer Morrison said. “This program provides that resource at eight locations from near the Canadian border to just north of the Massachusetts state line — and we are working to expand that list to include sites in all 14 counties.”
People might need to access safe firearms storage sites either because of a court order, or for other reasons, such as travel, the presence of young children, mental health concerns and more.
“I want to thank these Vermont businesses for participating in the Firearms Storage Program,” Attorney General Charity Clark said. “Providing an option for safe storage of firearms makes homes and communities safer, especially for those experiencing domestic violence.” AGC Arms in Shaftsbury is one of the safe storage sites, as is Roland W. Hubbard Jr. in East Dummerston.
When a person is experiencing domestic violence involving a family or household member, the individual might seek a relief-from-abuse order. A judge can require the person who is the subject of the order to surrender any firearms. The police will serve a copy of the order on the person and request immediate surrender of any firearms.
Once the firearms are relinquished to law enforcement, the police agency can store the firearms with a federal firearms licensee. Studies have shown that when people are experiencing domestic violence, having a firearm in the home greatly increases the risk of homicide.
People who are concerned about firearms that belong to someone other than a family or household member can contact a law enforcement agency regarding a court order called an extreme risk protection order, which requires a gun owner to surrender firearms. Only a State’s Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office can file a petition for one of these orders.
Gun owners do not need a court order to voluntarily store firearms with a federal firearms licensee. However, law enforcement agencies typically will assist with relinquishment if a court order is in place.
In addition to AGC and Hubbard, the other federal firearms licensees currently participating in the safe storage program are:
• Green Mountain Sporting Goods LLC, Irasburg
• Hawk Hill Guns & Tackle, Brandon
• J. Stone and Son Transport, Hancock
• Parro’s Gun Shop, Waterbury
• R&L Archery, Barre
• Vermont Field Sports, Middlebury
For more information about the Firearms Storage Program, including how new federal firearms licensees can sign up to participate, visit vsp.vermont.gov/firearmstorage.