April 8, 2022 – Vermont Governor Phil Scott recently signed Senate Bill 4 (“S.4”), which extends the required waiting period before a federal firearms licensee (“FFL”) can transfer a firearm to someone without an FFL when the results of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) is still listed as delayed.  Federal law allows an FFL to transfer a firearm after three full business days have expired since the NICS check was initiated if the result is still delayed.  S.4 extends that three day waiting period to seven full business days for transfers by FFLs in Vermont. 
S.4 was a compromise after a previous version was vetoed by Governor Scott in February. The original bill extended the delay period to thirty days, which the Governor found to be excessive. Although the Vermont Senate voted to override the veto, it also presented this compromise bill with the seven day period, which Governor Scott signaled was acceptable.  Now that it has been signed into law, the provisions of S.4 will take effect on July 1, 2022.  It is very important for FFLs in Vermont to ensure that they follow this new seven business day waiting period before transferring firearms when the NICS check is still listed as delayed, and to ensure that a response of denied was not received during the waiting period.  Based on the Biden Administration’s recently announced “zero tolerance” policy, transferring even a single firearm before receiving a response of proceed from a NICS check, or waiting the required amount of time for a delay, will likely result in a notice of revocation.
While the additional delay period in S.4 was hotly debated, the bill also included several other measures including banning firearms from hospitals, permitting health care providers to alert law enforcement of patients who have access to weapons and pose a risk of harm to themselves or others, and allowing judges to order individuals suspected of domestic violence to relinquish firearms or refrain from purchasing new firearms.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor firearm related legislation, news, and events around the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.