Ask an American to guess which is the most gun-friendly state in the Union and you’ll likely be treated to a whole host of wrong answers. Texas, which has a particularly strong reputation for independence, tends to come up first, with Alabama and Florida tied for second. Other questionees instinctively think of underpopulated areas: Montana? Utah? “Oh, I dunno — Idaho maybe?”
The correct answer might surprise them: It’s Vermont, land of gay marriage and legal marijuana, home to the only openly “socialist” senator in America, host to the only single-payer health-care system in the United States, and the primary stomping ground of an electorally resurgent Progressive party. Odd as it may sound, Vermont, since its establishment as a republic in 1777, has been far and away the best place in the country in which to enjoy the right to keep and bear arms. It turns out that you really can have guns and butter.