Vermont should require permits to carry a concealed weapon, according to more than half of voting Vermonters surveyed in a VTDigger/Castleton Polling Institute poll.

The poll found 57 percent of voters support changing Vermont's concealed carry gun law. Thirty-nine percent do not and four percent declined to answer.

In Vermont, it is legal to carry a firearm openly or concealed without a permit. That law is one of several state statutes that make Vermont one of the most permissive states in the U.S. with respect to firearms.

Burlington voters earlier this year passed three local laws that restrict firearms ownership. The state Legislature opted not to approve those local laws this session.

Advocates on both sides of gun control issues are gearing up for a showdown in Montpelier next session, as some groups plan to propose tightening gun laws and gun rights groups prepare to stake their ground.

Gun rights groups and anti-domestic violence advocates this session, not without much back-and-forth, compromised on a provision to encourage safe storage of guns removed from alleged domestic abusers.

Nearly half of voters polled own firearms, the survey found. Results found 47 percent of voters own guns while 50 do not. Households earning between $81,000 and $100,000 were most likely to own firearms, the poll found. Sixty-one percent of those households said they own firearms.


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In Chittenden County and southern Vermont, most voters do not own firearms, whereas more than half own them in northern and central Vermont, the poll found.

Opinions about guns also split down party lines, poll results show.

Sixty-six percent of Republicans own guns, while 69 percent of Democrats do not, according to poll results.

Slightly more than half of Republicans do not want to change the concealed carry law whereas 80 percent of Democrats do.

More women, 66 percent, said they want to change the concealed carry law. Of male voters, 46 percent said they support a change.

The report is based on data from 682 interviews drawn from a random sample of registered voters in Vermont. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/-4 percent, although the margin of error is larger for questions involving subsamples of respondents.