Connecticut

Ammunition Regulation in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013.)

Effective October 1, 2013, Connecticut prohibits the sale of ammunition or an ammunition magazine to any buyer unless the prospective ammunition purchaser:

  1. Has a handgun carry permit, gun sales permit, or long gun or handgun eligibility certificate, and presents such a credential to the seller; or
  2. Has an ammunition certificate and presents to the seller such certificate along with a driver’s license, passport, or other valid government-issued identification that contains the person’s photograph and date of birth.1

These provisions do not apply to the transfer of ammunition between federal firearms licensees, among other specific persons or entities.2

Ammunition Purchaser Permitting – Ammunition Certificate

Under Connecticut law, any person who is age 18 or older may request the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection (Commissioner) to: 1) conduct a criminal history records check of such person, using the person’s name and date of birth only; and 2) if approved, issue an ammunition certificate to such person.3

The ammunition certificate must be in the form prescribed by the Commissioner, and must contain an identification number and the name, address, and date of birth of the certificate holder and be signed by the holder.4

The name and address of a person issued an ammunition certificate must be confidential and must not be disclosed except:

  1. To law enforcement officials acting in the performance of their duties;
  2. By the Commissioner to the extent necessary to comply with a  request made for a firearms or ammunition certificate for verification that such certificate is still valid and has not been suspended or revoked; and
  3. To the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to carry out the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes § 17a-500, requiring the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to maintain information on commitment orders by a probate court and on voluntary commitments, and requires probate courts to maintain information regarding cases relating to persons with psychiatric disabilities.5

The fee for each ammunition certificate is $35 and there is an additional fee for the criminal history records check.6

An originally issued ammunition certificate expires five years after the date it becomes effective and each renewal certificate will expire five years from the date it is issued.7

An ammunition certificate must be revoked by the Commissioner if any event occurs which would have disqualified the holder from being issued the certificate.8

Prohibited Ammunition

Connecticut prohibits any person from knowingly distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering, or exposing for sale, or giving any person any “armor-piercing bullet” or “incendiary .50 caliber bullet.”  An “armor-piercing bullet” includes any .50 caliber bullet that is designed for the purpose of, held out by the manufacturer or distributor as, or generally recognized as having a specialized capability to penetrate armor or bulletproof glass, including, but not limited to, bullets designated as “M2 Armor-Piercing” or “AP,” “M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary” or “API,” “M20 Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer” or “APIT,” “M903 Caliber .50 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator” or “SLAP,” or “M962 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator Tracer” or “SLAPT.”9 Effective October 1, 2013, this definition will include any bullet that can be fired from a pistol or revolver that:  1)  has projectiles or projectile cores constructed entirely, excluding the presence of trances of other substances, from tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium; or 2) is fully jacketed with a jacket weight of more than 25% of the total weight of the projectile, is larger than .22 caliber and designed and intended for use in a firearm; and 3) does not have projectiles whose cores are composed of soft materials such as lead or lead alloys, zinc or zinc alloys, frangible projectiles designed primarily for sporting purposes, or any other projectiles or projectile cores that the U.S. Attorney General finds to be primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes or industrial purposes or that otherwise do not constitute “armor piercing ammunition” as defined in federal law.10

An “incendiary .50 caliber bullet” is defined as any .50 caliber bullet that is designed for the purpose of, held out by the manufacturer or distributor as, or generally recognized as having a specialized capability to ignite upon impact, including, but not limited to, such bullets commonly designated as “M1 Incendiary,” “M23 Incendiary,” “M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary” or “API,” or “M20 Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer” or “APIT.”11

Connecticut also prohibits any person from knowingly transporting or carrying a firearm loaded with an armor piercing bullet or incendiary .50 caliber bullet.12 The prohibited ammunition provisions exempt:

  1. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, police departments, the Department of Correction, or the state or U.S. military forces for use in the discharge of their official duties;
  2. An executor or administrator of an estate that includes such ammunition that is disposed of as authorized by the Probate Court; and
  3. The transfer by bequest or intestate succession of such ammunition.13

The federal prohibition on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition also applies.

Transfer of Ammunition for Prohibited Persons

Not later than two business days after the occurrence of any event that makes a person ineligible to possess a firearm or ammunition, that person must transfer any ammunition in his or her possession to a federally licensed firearms dealer or another person eligible to possess the ammunition, or surrender the ammunition to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.14 The prohibited possessor may, at any time up to one year after such delivery or surrender, have any ammunition transferred to any person eligible to possess such ammunition. Notification must be given in writing by such person and the transferee to the Commissioner, who must deliver the ammunition to the transferee.  If, at the end of a year, the ammunition has not been transferred at the request of the prohibited person, the Commissioner must have the ammunition destroyed. 15

Domestic Violence Prohibitions and Ammunition

Connecticut requires the application form for civil restraining orders to include a space for an alleged victim of domestic violence to indicate whether the alleged domestic violence offender possesses ammunition.16 As of October 1, 2013, domestic violence units in the Connecticut judicial system that respond to cases involving family violence are required to inform the court if a domestic violence victim indicates that a defendant possesses ammunition.17

Police are allowed to seize ammunition under the same circumstances as they can seize guns when investigating domestic violence crimes.18 Namely, whenever a peace officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, the officer may seize any ammunition at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. The ammunition must be returned in its original condition to the rightful owner unless that person is ineligible to possess the ammunition, or unless otherwise ordered by the court.19

Disposal of Contraband Ammunition

Firearms and ammunition determined by a court to be contraband or a nuisance pursuant to state law must be turned over to the Bureau of Identification of the Connecticut Division of State Police for destruction or appropriate use or disposal by sale at public auction.20 The proceeds of any such sale must be paid to the State Treasurer and deposited by the State Treasurer in the forfeit firearms account within the general fund.21

Seizure of Ammunition

If any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney, or any two police officers have probable cause to believe that a person: 1) Poses a risk of imminent personal injury to themselves or to others; 2) Possesses one or more firearms, and 3) Such firearms are within or upon any place, thing or person, then a judge may issue a warrant commanding law enforcement to enter into or upon the named place or thing, search the place or thing or the person, and take into custody any firearms and ammunition.22 This action can only be taken if the officers have made an independent investigation and believe there is no reasonable alternative available to prevent the person from causing imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others with a firearm.23

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38k(c). An “ammunition magazine” is any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that accepts ammunition. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38k(a). []
  2. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38k(d). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(a). After conducting the criminal history records check, the Commissioner must issue an ammunition certificate unless the commissioner determines, based on a review of the results of the records check, that such person would be ineligible to be issued a long gun eligibility certificate under Connecticut law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(b). []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(c). An ammunition certificate holder must notify the Commissioner not later than two business days after any change of such person’s address.  The notification must include both the old address and the new address. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(d). []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(e). []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38m(a). []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38m(b). []
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(a). The person whose certificate is revoked must be notified, in writing, and the certificate must be delivered to the Commissioner. Any person who fails to surrender a revoked certificate within five days of notification, in writing, of revocation of the certificate, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(b). []
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(1), (b). []
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(1). “Armor piercing bullet” does not include a shotgun shell. Id. []
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(2). []
  12. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(c). []
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(d). []
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(a). []
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(b). []
  16. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-15(b). []
  17. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38c(c)(A). []
  18. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38b(a). []
  19. Id. []
  20. Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-36e(a). []
  21. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-36e(b). []
  22. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). []
  23. Id. []

Assault Weapons in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated August 8, 2013.)

Definitions and Prohibitions

Connecticut prohibits any person from possessing an assault weapon unless the weapon was possessed prior to July 1, 1994, and the possessor:

  • Was eligible to apply for a certificate of possession for the assault weapon by July 1, 1994;
  • Lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993; and
  • Is not in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §§ 53-202a to 53-202k (assault weapon regulations), and Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202o (affirmative defense in prosecution for possession of specified assault weapon).1

The state also prohibits any person from distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering or exposing for sale, or giving an assault weapon to any person.2

Connecticut defines an “assault weapon” as:

  • Any “selective-fire” firearm capable of fully automatic, semi-automatic or “burst fire” at the option of the user;3
  • Any semi-automatic centerfire rifle, regardless of the date produced, that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features:  1) A folding or telescoping stock; 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, or other stock that would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing; 3) A forward pistol grip; 4) A flash suppressor; or 5) A grenade or flare launcher;4
  • A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features:  1) The ability to accept a detachable ammunition magazine that attaches at some location outside the pistol grip; 2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip or silencer; 3) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm without being burned (except a slide that encloses the barrel); or 4) A second hand grip;5
  • A semi-automatic shotgun that has both of the following features:  1) A folding or telescoping stock; or 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other stock, the use of which would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing;6
  • A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has:  1) a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition; or 2) an overall length of less than 30 inches;7
  • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the ability to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition;8
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that can accept a detachable magazine; or9
  • A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.10

Specific Prohibited Weapons

Connecticut bans the following specifically named semi-automatic firearms:

Algimec Agmi; Armalite AR-180; Australian Automatic Arms SAP Pistol; Auto-Ordnance Thompson type; Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type; Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1; Beretta AR-70; Bushmaster Auto Rifle and Auto Pistol; Calico models M-900, M-950 and 100-P; Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88; Colt AR-15 and Sporter; Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max-1 and Max-2; Encom MK-IV, MP-9 and MP-45; Fabrique Nationale FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FN/FNC; FAMAS MAS 223; Feather AT-9 and Mini-AT; Federal XC-900 and XC-450; Franchi SPAS-12 and LAW-12; Galil AR and ARM; Goncz High-Tech Carbine and High-Tech Long Pistol; Heckler & Koch HK-91, HK-93, HK-94 and SP-89; Holmes MP-83; MAC-10, MAC-11 and MAC-11 Carbine type; Intratec TEC-9 and Scorpion; Iver Johnson Enforcer model 3000; Ruger Mini-14/5F folding stock model only; Scarab Skorpion; SIG 57 AMT and 500 series; Spectre Auto Carbine and Auto Pistol; Springfield Armory BM59, SAR-48 and G-3; Sterling MK-6 and MK-7; Steyr AUG; Street Sweeper and Striker 12 revolving cylinder shotguns; USAS-12; UZI Carbine, Mini-Carbine and Pistol; Weaver Arms Nighthawk; Wilkinson “Linda” Pistol.11

Connecticut bans the following semiautomatic centerfire rifles, or copies or duplicates of such rifles with their capability, that were in production before or on June 18, 2013:

AK 47; AK 74, AKM, AKS-74U, ARM, MAADI AK 47, MAK90, MISR, NHM90; NHM91, Norinco 56, 56S, 84S and 86S, Poly Technologies AKS and AK47, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR, WASR-10, WUM, Rock River Arms LAR-47; Vector Arms AK-47; AR-10; AR-15; Bushmaster Carbon 15, Bushmaster XM15, Bushmaster ACR Rifles, Bushmaster MOE Rifles; Colt Match Target Rifles; Armalite M15; Olympic Arms AR-15, A1, CAR, PCR, K3B, K30R, K16, K48, K8 and K9 Rifles; DPMS Tactical Rifles; Smith and Wesson M&P15 Rifles; Rock River Arms LAR-15; Doublestar AR Rifles; Barrett REC7; Beretta Storm; Calico Liberty 50, 50 Tactical, 100, 100 Tactical, I, I Tactical, II and II Tactical Rifles; Hi-Point Carbine Rifles; HK-PSG-1; Kel-Tec Sub-2000, SU Rifles, and RFB; Remington Tactical Rifle Model 7615; SAR-8, SAR-4800 and SR9; SLG 95; SLR 95 or 96; TNW M230 and M2HB; Vector Arms UZI, Galil and Galil Sporter; Daewoo AR 100 and AR 110C; Fabrique Nationale/FN 308 Match and L1A1 Sporter; HK USC; IZHMASH Saiga AK; SIG Sauer 551-A1, 556, 516, 716 and M400 Rifles; Valmet M62S, M71S and M78S; Wilkinson Arms Linda Carbine; and Barrett M107A1.12

Connecticut also bans the following specified semiautomatic pistols, or copies or duplicates of such pistols with their capability, that were in production prior to or on June 18, 2013:

Centurion 39 AK; Draco AK-47; HCR AK-47; IO Inc. Hellpup AK-47; Mini-Draco AK-47; Yugo Krebs Krink; American Spirit AR-15; Bushmaster Carbon 15; Doublestar Corporation AR; DPMS AR-15; Olympic Arms AR-15; Rock River Arms LAR 15; Calico Liberty III and III Tactical Pistols; Masterpiece Arms MPA Pistols and Velocity Arms VMA Pistols; Intratec TEC-DC9 and AB-10; Colefire Magnum; German Sport 522 PK and Chiappa Firearms Mfour-22; DSA SA58 PKP FAL; I.O. Inc. PPS-43C; Kel-Tec PLR-16 Pistol; Sig Sauer P516 and P556 pistols; and Thompson TA5 pistols.13

Finally, Connecticut bans all IZHMASH Saiga 12 shotguns or copies or duplicates with the capability of such shotguns that were in production before or on June 18, 2013.14

Parts Considered an Assault Weapon in Some Circumstances

Connecticut bans a part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault weapon as defined under Connecticut law and any combination of parts from which such an assault weapon may be assembled if possessed by, or under the control of, the same person.15

Any firearm that has been permanently rendered inoperable is not an assault weapon.16 In addition, a part or combination of parts of an assault weapon, that are not assembled as an assault weapon, when in the possession of a licensed gun dealer or a gunsmith employed by a dealer for the purposes of servicing or repairing lawfully possessed assault weapons, do not constitute an assault weapon.17

Grandfathering of Assault Weapons

A person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993 may continue to possess the weapon if he or she obtained a certificate of possession.18

For assault weapons banned under the expanded definition in the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act, effective June 18, 2013, anyone who legally possessed one of the newly banned weapons on or after April 4, 2013, but prior to June 18, 2013, who is eligible for a certificate of possession, may continue to possess the weapon by applying to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for such certificate by January 1, 2014.19 A member of the U.S. military who is unable to apply by January 1, 2014, because he or she is out of state on official duty, has 90 days after returning to Connecticut to apply for a certificate.20 The certificate must contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, the owner’s full name, address, date of birth and thumbprint, and any other information that DESPP deems appropriate.21

Connecticut prohibits any person with a certificate of possession for any of the assault weapons added on April 4, 2013, from:  1) Selling or transferring the weapon in Connecticut to anyone except a licensed gun dealer; or 2) Otherwise transferring the weapon except by bequest or intestate succession.22 Any person who inherits an assault weapon for which a certificate was issued has 90 days to apply for a certificate or sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer, permanently disable it, or take it out of state.23

Anyone who moves into Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon has 90 days to make it permanently inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer or take it out of state.24 Military service members transferred to Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon may apply to DESPP for a certificate within 90 days of arriving in the state.25

Under Connecticut law, anyone who possesses an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued may possess it only at specified locations, such as his or her home or business, at a licensed shooting club, or at a target range that holds a license for practicing target shooting.26

Any person who obtained a certificate of possession for an existing assault weapon before April 5, 2013, for a weapon the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act of 2013 defines as an assault weapon, is deemed to have obtained a certificate of possession for such assault weapon and will not be required to obtain a separate certificate.27

Connecticut prohibits the transfer of most grandfathered weapons.28

A person issued a certificate of possession may possess his or her registered assault weapon at:

  • His or her residence, property or business;
  • Property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
  • Certain target ranges or shooting clubs; and
  • A firearms exhibition, display or educational project.29

A person may also possess a registered assault weapon while transporting the weapon to or from a permitted location noted above or to a licensed gun dealer for repair.30 When transported, an assault weapon must be unloaded and, if transported in a vehicle, kept in the trunk or in a case or container that is inaccessible to the operator or any passenger of the vehicle.31

When a person wishes to dispose of a registered assault weapon, he or she may transfer the weapon only to a licensed dealer, a police department or DESPP.32 A person who possesses a registered assault weapon must report the loss or theft of the weapon within 72 hours of the time the person discovered or should have discovered the loss or theft.33

An assault weapon defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202a(a)(3) and (4) (an assault weapon defined by criteria rather than specific name) is exempt from state transfer restrictions and registration requirements if it was legally manufactured prior to September 13, 1994.34

Connecticut also allows possession of certain specified assault weapon models under certain circumstances. The state allows a person to possess an Auto-Ordnance Thompson type, Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type, MAC-10, MAC-11 or MAC-11 Carbine type assault weapon if:

  • It was obtained in good faith on or after October 1, 1993 and before May 8, 2002;
  • The possessor is not prohibited from possessing the weapon under any other law; and
  • The possessor has notified DESPP, prior to October 1, 2003, that he or she possesses the specified assault weapon.35

Connecticut provides that nothing contained in the state’s assault weapon regulations shall be construed to prohibit any person or corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing assault weapons from manufacturing or transporting assault weapons for sale:  1) Within the state to the DESPP, law enforcement, the Department of Correction, other specified state agencies, or military or naval forces; or 2) For sale outside the state.36

Exceptions

Connecticut allows the sale of assault weapons to the Department of Correction, DESPP, police departments, and military or naval forces for use in their official duties, as well as for off-duty use.37 Possession is allowed by members or employees of these entities for use in the discharge of their official duties. Connecticut permits sales to and possession by: 1) Employees of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensee operating a nuclear power plant in Connecticut for the purpose of providing security; or 2) Any person, firm, corporation, contractor, or subcontractor providing security at the plant.38

Finally, for assault weapons for which a certificate of possession is issued, Connecticut allows weapons to be possessed or received, under certain circumstances, by:

  • Executors or administrators of an estate that includes an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued;
  • Gun dealers; and
  • Gunsmiths.39

Similarly, Connecticut allows for:  1) Individuals to arrange to relinquish a weapon to a police department or DESPP;40 2) Temporary transfers or possession for certain out-of-state events;41 and 3) Weapons to be transported to or from a shooting competition or exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms sponsored, conducted by, approved or under the auspices of a law enforcement agency or a national or state-recognized entity that fosters proficiency in firearms use or promotes firearms education.42

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202c(a), (c). []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(1). State law also specifically prohibits the transfer, sale or giving of an assault weapon to a person under age 18. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(1). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i). []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(i). []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(iv). []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vi). []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(ii), (iii). []
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(v). []
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vii). []
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(viii). []
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i). []
  12. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(B). []
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(C). []
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(D). []
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202a(1)(F), 53-202a(1)(A)(ii). []
  16. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(2). []
  17. Id. []
  18. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(1), Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 53-202d-1—53-202d-5, and the Registration of Firearms in Connecticut section for further information. []
  19. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(2)(A). []
  20. Id. []
  21. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(4). []
  22. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b)(2). []
  23. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(c). []
  24. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(d). []
  25. See Id. []
  26. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f). []
  27. Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 53-202d(a)(3). []
  28. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b), (c). []
  29. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f). []
  30. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f)(6). []
  31. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202f(a). []
  32. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202d(b)-(d); 53-202e. []
  33. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202g(a). []
  34. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202m. []
  35. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202n(a), (b). []
  36. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202i. []
  37. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202i, 53-202b(b)(1). []
  38. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b(b)(1); 53-202c(b). []
  39. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b, 53-202c(e), 53-202d(b), 53-202f. []
  40. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202e. []
  41. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202h. []
  42. Id. []

Background Checks in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013)

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Connecticut is a point-of-contact state for NICS. In Connecticut, all firearms transfers by licensed dealers are processed through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (“DESPP”).1

In Connecticut, a person, firm or corporation who seeks to sell a long gun at retail or a handgun (whether a licensed dealer or private seller) must:

  • Have the transferee complete a written application and retain the application for at least 20 years or until he or she goes out of business;
  • Make the application available for inspection during normal business hours by law enforcement;
  • Transfer only to a transferee he or she knows personally or who presents appropriate identification (handguns only);
  • Obtain an authorization number from DESPP; and
  • Wait two weeks from the date of application before transferring the firearm (long guns only, until April 1, 2014).2

DESPP must make reasonable “effort,” including a search of NICS, to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a firearm.3

Private (unlicensed) individuals may not purchase or receive a firearm unless such person holds a: 1) permit to carry a pistol or revolver; 2) eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver; 3) permit to sell at retail a pistol or revolver; or 4) long gun eligibility certificate.  These permits are issued following a background check by DESPP on the applicant.4 See the Private Sales in Connecticut section.

Prior to the transfer of any firearm at a gun show, the transferee must undergo a background check.5 See the Gun Shows in Connecticut section for more information.

To obtain an ammunition certificate, allowing a person to purchase ammunition in Connecticut, a person must request this certificate from the DESPP commissioner.6 After conducting the criminal history records check of the person using only their name and date of birth, the commissioner must issue the ammunition certificate unless the person is ineligible for a long gun eligibility certificate.7

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36l(d)(1). See also Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited July 8, 2013). []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-33(a), (c), 29-37a(d). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-33(c), 29-37a(d). []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-28(b), 29-36f, 29-36g, 29-38g, 29-38h. []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37g(c). []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(a). []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38l(b). []

Child Access Prevention in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013.)

Connecticut prohibits any person from storing or keeping a loaded firearm on his or her premises or under his or her control if he or she knows or reasonably should know that a minor (person under age 16) is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the minor’s parent or guardian.1 A person is not criminally liable for this prohibition if his or her firearm is securely locked in a box or other container in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure, or the person carries the firearm on his or her person or within such close proximity that he or she can readily retrieve and use it as if it were on his or her body.2 A person who violates this safe storage requirement shall be held strictly liable for damages when a minor obtains the unlawfully stored firearm and causes injury to or the death of any person.3

A person is liable for “criminally negligent storage of a firearm” when he or she does not comply with the aforementioned safe storage requirements and a minor (person under age 16) obtains the firearm and causes injury or death to himself, herself or any other person.4

Connecticut specifically penalizes any parent or guardian of a minor child who, knowing that the child possesses a firearm and is ineligible to possess such firearm, fails to make reasonable efforts to halt the possession.5

As of October 1, 2013, the above safe storage requirements and related liability rules also apply if a person knows or should know that a resident of the premises:

1) Is ineligible to possess firearms under state or federal law; or

2) Poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others.6

For other measures related to child access prevention, see the Connecticut Locking Devices section.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37i. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-571g. []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217a(a). This prohibition does not apply if the minor gains access to the firearm via illegal entry of any premises where the gun is located by any person. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217a(b). []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-206f. []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-37i, 52-571g, and 53a-217a. []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Connecticut requires any person that seeks to carry a pistol or revolver to obtain a permit.1 No permit is needed to carry a pistol or revolver within one’s own “dwelling house or place of business.”2

Connecticut is a “may issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a permit to carry a handgun to an applicant.3

Connecticut’s permitting law does not distinguish between carrying a handgun concealed and carrying openly. A chief of police, warden or selectman may issue a permit to carry a handgun to a person who:4

  • Has a bona fide residence or place of business within the jurisdiction in which he or she is applying;
  • Intends to make only lawful use of the handgun for which the permit will be issued;
  • Is a “suitable person” to receive a permit;
  • Has successfully completed a course approved by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection in the safety and use of handguns;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony or of a violation of:
    • Criminal possession of a narcotic substance;
    • Criminally negligent homicide;
    • Assault in the third degree or assault in the third degree of an elderly, blind, pregnant, or disabled person, or a person with an intellectual disability;
    • Threatening in the second degree;
    • Reckless endangerment in the first degree;
    • Unlawful restraint in the second degree;
    • Riot in the first or second degree or inciting to riot; or
    • Stalking in the second degree;
  • Has not been convicted as a delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense;5
  • Has not been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect;6
  • Has not been confined in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding 12 months by order of a probate court;
  • Is not subject to a restraining or protective order issued by a court in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person;
  • Is not subject to a firearms seizure order issued for posing risk of imminent personal injury to self or others after notice and a hearing;7
  • Is not prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm pursuant to the mental health prohibitions under federal law;8
  • Is not an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States; and
  • Is at least 21 years of age.

Any person violating the concealed weapons permitting provisions will, in addition to other criminal penalties, be forced to forfeit any handgun found in his or her possession.9

Firearm Safety Training

Connecticut requires that applicants for a state concealed weapons permit first successfully complete a course approved by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection in the safety and use of pistols and revolvers including, but not limited to, a safety or training course in the use of pistols and revolvers available to the public offered by a law enforcement agency, a private or public educational institution or a firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and a safety or training course in the use of pistols or revolvers conducted by an instructor certified by the state or the National Rifle Association.10

Duration & Renewal

A permit to carry a handgun is valid for up to five years from the date the permit became effective.11 Each renewal permit is valid for five years.12 Connecticut enacted a law in 2011 allowing individuals to renew permits by mail.13 There is no safety training requirement upon renewal.

Disclosure or Use of Information

Connecticut does not allow personal application or permit information of concealed weapons permit holders to be made public. The name and address of a person issued a state permit to carry a handgun or a local permit to carry a handgun issued prior to October 1, 2001 (the effective date of the law authorizing state-issue permits in place of local permits), may not be disclosed, except to:

  • Law enforcement officials acting in the performance of their duties;
  • Firearms transferors making requests for verification that such state, local or temporary state permit is still valid and has not been suspended or revoked; and
  • The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services for persons subject to an order of mental health commitment.14

Reciprocity

A bona fide resident of the United States who does not reside or work in Connecticut and holds a concealed handgun permit issued by another state may apply to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection for a permit to carry a handgun in Connecticut.15

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35(a). []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35(a). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(b). []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(b). []
  5. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-120. []
  6. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-13. []
  7. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(d). []
  8. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) (persons who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution). []
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37(a). []
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(b). []
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-30(b). []
  12. Id. []
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-30(f). []
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(d). []
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(f). []

Connecticut State Law Summary

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

connecticut

Last updated December 9, 2013

In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Connecticut ranked 2nd out of 50 – having enacted some of the strongest gun laws in the country.

In 2013, the Connecticut legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.

enacted in 2013

Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation

CT H 6702 Strengthens law requiring subjects of restraining orders to surrender firearms.
CT S 1160 Strengthens the ban on assault weapons, bans large capacity ammunition magazines, creates gun offender registry, requires permit for long guns and ammunition purchase (note CT S 1094 provides amendments).

connecticut

Among other things, Connecticut:

Connecticut does not, however,

In 2010, Connecticut had the sixth lowest rate of gun deaths per capita among the states. (Even this relatively low ranking means that 209 people died from firearm-related injuries in Connecticut that year.) In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009, Connecticut supplied the ninth lowest number of crime guns to other states per capita, and is a net importer of crime guns.
READ MORE »

Dealer Regulations in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

In Connecticut, any person who sells ten or more handguns in a calendar year or is a federally licensed firearms dealer must have a state handgun sales permit to advertise, sell, deliver, or offer for sale or delivery, or possess with intent to sell or deliver, any handgun.1 The chief of police, warden of a borough, or first selectman of a town may issue a permit to sell only if the applicant holds a valid state eligibility certificate for a handgun or a valid permit to carry a handgun and submits documentation sufficient to establish that local zoning requirements have been met for the location of the sale.2

Business organizations that sell firearms at retail must have a burglar alarm installed on their premises where 10 or more firearms are stored or kept for sale.3 The alarms must be connected directly to the local police department or a monitoring organization and must activate upon unauthorized entry or the interruption of the security system.4

Any person, firm or corporation that engages in the retail sale of goods, where the principal part of such business is not firearms, may not employ a person to sell firearms in a retail store unless the person:

  • Is at least age 18;
  • Has submitted to state and national criminal history records checks which indicate he or she has not been convicted of a felony or a violation that would render her or him ineligible for a handgun certificate; and
  • Has successfully completed a course or test approved by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection in firearms safety and statutory procedures relating to the sale of firearms.5

A person may not sell a handgun anywhere except the room, store, or other place described in the permit for sale of handguns, and the person must display the permit for sale “exposed to view” in the location identified in the permit.6

Retail sellers of handguns must, at the time of transfer of a handgun, provide a written warning to the purchaser, in block letters at least one inch in height, stating: “UNLAWFUL STORAGE OF A LOADED FIREARM MAY RESULT IN IMPRISONMENT OR FINE.”7

For laws:

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(a). []
  2. Id. []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37d. []
  4. Id. []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37f. Any employer who employs a person to sell firearms in violation of these provisions is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 per day for each violation. Id. []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-31. []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37b(a). []

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Connecticut has no laws regulating so-called “junk guns” or “Saturday night specials.”

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013.)

Persons Falling into State Prohibited Categories

Whenever a person becomes ineligible to possess a firearm, he or she has two business days from the event causing the ineligibility to transfer any firearm in his or her possession to any person eligible to possess firearms.1 The ineligible person may alternatively transfer the firearm(s) to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.2 However, pursuant to a law Connecticut adopted in 2011, a person who becomes ineligible because of the issuance of a domestic violence protective order against him or her must transfer any firearm in his or her possession only to a federally licensed firearms dealer or the Commissioner.3

The Commissioner, in conjunction with the Chief State’s Attorney and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, must develop and maintain a protocol to ensure that persons who become ineligible to possess a firearm have transferred the gun to an eligible person, or have delivered or surrendered the firearm to the Commissioner. The protocol must include specific instructions for the transfer, delivery or surrender of guns when the assistance of more than one law enforcement agency is necessary to effect these requirements.4

Gun Possessors Posing Imminent Risk of Injury

In Connecticut, a state’s attorney or any two police officers may file a complaint to any Superior Court judge for seizure of a firearm or ammunition when they have probable cause to believe that:  1) a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others; 2) the person possesses one or more firearms; and 3) the firearm is within or upon any place, thing or person.5 Probable cause may be based on:

  • Recent threats or acts of violence directed towards self or others;
  • Recent acts of cruelty to animals;
  • Reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm;
  • A history of use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against others;
  • Illegal use of controlled substances or abuse of alcohol; or
  • Involuntary confinement to a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities.6

The judge may then issue a warrant commanding a law enforcement officer to search that person, place, or thing, and take any and all firearms or ammunition into custody.7 The court must hold a hearing no later than 14 days after execution of the warrant to determine whether the seized firearms and ammunition should be returned to the person named in the warrant.8 If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or others, it may order the state to continue to hold the firearms and ammunition for up to one year.9

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(a). []
  2. Id. []
  3. Id. []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36n. []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(b). Any person whose firearms have been ordered seized under this statute, or his or her legal representative, may transfer the firearms in accordance with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33 or other applicable state or federal law, to any person eligible to possess firearms. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(e). []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). []
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(d). []
  9. Id. []

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013.)

Connecticut does not prohibit individuals convicted specifically of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, unlike federal law. The state does prohibit persons convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including: 1) assault in the third degree1; 2) assault of an elderly, blind, disabled or pregnant person or a person with intellectual disability2; 3) unlawful restraint3; and stalking in the second degree,4 from such purchase or possession, however.

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders

Connecticut prohibits the possession of a firearm by a person who knows that he or she is subject to a restraining or protective order that was issued after notice and an opportunity to be heard in a case involving the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person, or a foreign order of protection in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person.5  Connecticut does not prohibit gun possession by a person subject to an emergency “ex parte” protective order, the kind of order that covers the period before a hearing.

Connecticut makes a person ineligible for a certificate for a pistol or revolver if that person is subject to a domestic violence restraining or protective order (including an order issued without notice and a hearing) in a case involving the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person.6 Domestic violence is defined broadly. Any family or household member who has been subjected to a continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury, stalking or a pattern of threatening, by another family or household member may apply for a restraining or protective order.7 “Family or household member” means:

  • Spouses and former spouses;
  • Parents or their children;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Persons not related by blood or marriage presently residing together or who have resided together;
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they are or have been married or have lived together at any time; and
  • Persons who are in or have recently been in a dating relationship.8

The restraining or protective order application form must allow an applicant, at the applicant’s option, to indicate whether the respondent holds a permit to carry a pistol or revolver or possesses one or more firearms or ammunition.9

Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

See the section entitled Disarming Prohibited Persons in Connecticut regarding the firearm and ammunition surrender requirements when a protective order is issued.

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Whenever a peace officer determines that a “family violence crime” has been committed, the officer may seize any firearm or ammunition at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of the crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view.10 The law enforcement agency must return the firearm(s) and ammunition to the rightful owner not later than seven days after the seizure, unless the person is ineligible to possess a firearm or otherwise ordered by the court.11

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-61. []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-61a. []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-96. []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-181d. []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217(a)(4). See also Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217c(a)(5) for similar prohibitions for “criminal possession of a pistol or revolver.” []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36f(b)(6). []
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-15(a). []
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38a(2). []
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-15(b). []
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38b(a). []
  11. Id. []