Gun control has been at the center of much debate in the political circles of America over the past ten to fifteen years at the very least. With every gun related death, there are more advocates for either taking away the rights of the citizens of America to purchase fire arms, and advocates for less gun laws with the idea of hunting or self-protection. Vermont and New York are very different in the laws they must abide to in purchasing, using, selling, and owning firearms. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences among the two states in regard to the laws the citizens must abide by. Neither state is right or wrong in their laws pertaining to fire arms. The laws and statutes in the designated states are the laws and statutes that best suit the residents within the State.
Summary of Laws in New York
Article 2, Section 4 in the NY Civil Rights Law does provide “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. The right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed” (Gun Laws, 2016). While New York does not mandate the registration of rifles and shot guns, all hand guns must be registered. One must obtain a permit to purchase hand guns, but not shot guns or rifles. Also, you must be licensed and have a permit to carry in relation to hand guns in this state. This is not true for rifles and shot guns. The exemptions for rifles and shotguns to do not apply to individuals that reside within New York City. The exemptions applicable to the rest of the state in regard to rifles and shot guns only apply if the barrels of the guns are at least 16 inches in length.
New York is known to have some of the strictest state laws in the country. New York’s gun laws do not apply to antique fire arms. New York Penal code 265.00(3) and 265.00(14) address what is considered an antique fire arm. It is also unlawful for anyone that does not have a New York license to have a handgun in the state, even if they are only passing through. All assault weapons must have been registered prior to January 15, 2013. To register a gun, an individual must provide their name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, a description of each weapon in their possession, and their social security number. NY Penal Law 265.45 mandates that individuals lock up their guns with a device that requires either a combination or a key to unlock it. Failure to do this is a misdemeanor.
Vermont Gun Laws
Vermont does not require permits or registrations for hand guns, rifles, or shot guns. There is also no permit requirement to carry concealed. There are currently no laws in place to limit the sales of guns to individuals, or to limit whether individuals can have guns on them at any time. It is lawful to carry a gun in the open or in a concealed manner in the state of Vermont. It is also not against the law to possess machine guns, as long as federal laws are complied with in regard to the fire arm being registered, and obtained by legal means.
Vermont allows the municipal and county governments authority to regulate firearms. Vermont does not allow people to possess or operate fire arms in a school bus, school building, or on school property. Merchants are required to keep records of sales for six years, and failure to do so may result in a fine up to $100.00. Persons other than legal guardians are not allowed to sell ammunition or fire arms to minors, and failure to follow this rule will result in a fine between $10.00 and $50.00. Children under the age of 16 must have the consent of their parent to possess or operate a pistol or hand gun. Individuals are discouraged in pointing guns at other individuals, and if they do, and it is not self-defense, they may be fined up to $50.00. Any person that discharges a gun while aiming at someone, not in self-defense is punishable up to a year in jail and a fine not exceeding $100.00.
Vermont has always been largely made up of an agricultural economy. The state is very small and made up primarily of small rural cities. Their ideology is that of protection. They believe they should be able to protect themselves from animals and people alike. They have long viewed guns as tools rather than weapons, and have thus reflected this in their laws. According to the Washington Times, there is no correlation between the crime rates and the extent of the law in regard to fire arm restrictions (Sherfinski, 2015). The Vermont legislature has primarily been democratic, but is often seen as a liberal state in its laws and restrictions.
New York is known to be a Democratic Party state. It is primarily made up of immigrants, and is also made up of largely populated cities. New York is also known for its crime rates, and history of the gangs and mafia. Because of the amount of big cities in this state, guns are viewed as weapons and often associated with crime. Some of the gun acts incorporated in New York came as a result of armed demonstrations or large influxes of minority groups. New York has dedicated itself to the protection of the individuals of the State, and the restrictive gun laws reflect this. People are continually attempting to get around the gun laws and stories have come out about the New York Police Department receiving bribes to expedite gun permits.
Both Vermont and New York must adhere to the federal regulations pertaining to fire arms. “Congress has continued to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of further federal regulation of firearms and ammunitions” (Gun Control, 2009). The National Firearms act regulates firearms that can be concealed. The act is designed to make it more difficult for non-law abiding citizens to obtain guns. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits mail order guns, requires all sellers to be licensed, and sets requirements on who can and cannot purchase a firearm. This act states that persons under the age of 18 are not allowed to legally acquire a gun, however this law has exemptions pertaining to hunting, trapping, and providing a livelihood essentially. There are also categories of people who are not legally able to buy a gun. Some of these categories include dishonorably discharged veterans, persons with a restraining order against them, and persons that are fugitives of justice.
According to the CDC, New York had a rate of 4.2 firearms deaths per 100,000 people. Vermont had a rate of 10.3. There are many factors that could be taken into account though. This is surely not based entirely on the gun laws. New York is far stricter in their gun laws and restrictions than Vermont is. However comparing the two states against one another is essentially comparing apples to oranges. The people that make up the two very different states are not the same. They do not have the same occupations, background, or environment. In Vermont, for instance it is a common practice to grow your own food, and go hunting. This is not the case in the majority of areas in New York. In New York, there are more people in tighter confined areas. The primary use of a firearm in Vermont is for killing animals. The primary use for firearms in New York is protection against other individuals. The history of the two areas is distinctly different as well. New York is known for the many immigrants, and the gangs that have come from the various groups. Vermont is known for its agriculture. The laws in both areas work for the population they are designed to work for.
- Gun Control. (2009). New York, US: Nova. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
- Sherfinski, David. (2013). States’ crime rates show scant linkage to gun laws. The Washington Times. Retrieved May 11, 2016 from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/24-states-crime-rates-show-scant-linkage
- New York Gun Laws. (2016, January 11). Retrieved from https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/new-york/
- Vermont Gun Laws. (2016, January 11). Retrieved from https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/vermont
- Eustachewich, L, Celona, L., & Golding, B. (2016). Orthodox Jewish Leader Allegedly Bragged About NYPD Bribes for Pistol Permits. NY Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2016/04/18/shomrim-leader-busted-amid-nypd-corruption-probe/