BENNINGTON — A town resident charged with violating a provision of Vermont’s gun control law is open to a settlement, his lawyer said Monday, after the state Supreme Court denied his appeal.
The man, Max Misch, is accused of possessing two large-capacity magazines in 2019 amid a state ban. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the ban is a reasonable regulation of people’s right to bear arms for self-defense, his prosecution continues.
Besides the firearms case, Misch, 38, has four other ongoing criminal cases in Bennington Superior Court. Two involve charges of violating conditions of release; the other two, disorderly conduct. All of them are misdemeanors.
At a hearing Monday, Vermont Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle said his office could send Misch a plea offer on his magazine charges and release violation charges.
“We can get an offer to the defense, probably in the next couple of weeks, if that’s something the defense would like,” Doyle told the court. “We have not made an offer.”
His statement came after defense attorney Fred Bragdon clarified if an offer they’ve received from the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office — which is handling the disorderly conduct charges — included Misch’s other charges.
Bragdon said State’s Attorney Erica Marthage offered Misch “fine-only” penalties in exchange for admitting to disorderly conduct. Misch, who appeared at the remote hearing by video call, didn’t say whether he’d made a decision.
In an incident last August, Misch is accused of walking through Bennington’s Black Lives Matter street mural, smearing the artwork as volunteers worked on the painting.
In the other — disorderly conduct as a hate crime — Misch is alleged to have gotten in a fight with a Black man and the man’s girlfriend last September. Of all his charges, this is the one that carries the most serious maximum penalty: two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
If Misch decides not to take plea deals, his cases will go to trial. Bragdon and Doyle both told the court they were ready for trial.
Should Misch take this route, Bragdon said the Office of the Defender General is considering filing another motion to have his charges dismissed. This time, their arguments would be based on federal law.
“There is some contemplation about filing a second motion, just straight federal grounds since the first motion was filed just on state grounds,” said Bragdon, who supervises the defender general’s office in Bennington County.
Misch, a self-described white nationalist and Iraq War veteran, was charged with twin counts of possessing “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” after police found two 30-round rifle magazines at his home.
Authorities said the magazines were purchased after a state ban took effect in October 2018 — which outlaws magazines containing more than 10 rounds for long guns and more than 15 rounds for handguns. Misch is the first person to be prosecuted under this new state law.