Vt. Supreme Court weighs halting gun magazine civil case

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 2:02 PM EST
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The Vermont Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether a trial court should move forward with a civil case on the constitutionality of the state's new high-capacity gun magazine law.

The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs argues that the 2018 law violates the Vermont constitution. But the Vermont Attorney General's office says that a criminal case before the high court later this year involves the exact same issues and should be resolved first.

The criminal case concerns Max Misch, a self-described white supremacist who was charged with violating the law. Police say the Bennington man was stockpiling weapons and ammunition and was in possession of high-capacity magazines.

A Superior Court judge last summer rejected Misch's constitutional challenge to the magazine ban and the Vermont Supreme Court is set to review that decision.

Officials with the Vermont Attorney General's office are asking the high court to issue a stay in the civil case until the Misch matter is resolved. Moving forward, they say, would be a waste of state and court resources for a case that shows little merit.

Lawyers with the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs say not moving forward in the trial court would deprive them of due process.

The magazine law was enacted after the Parkland school shooting in Florida and a narrowly avoided school shooting in Fair Haven in 2018.