(Last updated July 12, 2013.)
Connecticut prohibits any person, firm or corporation from selling, delivering or otherwise transferring a handgun to any person prohibited by state law from possessing a handgun. Handgun transfers may not be made until the person, firm or corporation making the transfer obtains an authorization number – following a background check on the prospective purchaser – from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). Moreover, the state prohibits any person, firm, or corporation from transferring a handgun unless the transferee has a permit to carry a handgun, a permit to sell handguns at retail, or a handgun eligibility certificate. See the Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Connecticut section.
Connecticut also prohibits the sale or transfer of a long gun by someone who is not a federally-licensed firearm dealer, manufacturer, or importer to someone who is not a similarly-licensed person, unless the following conditions are met:
- The prospective transferor and transferee must comply with the documentation and authorization requirements that apply to retail sales of long guns (e.g., (a) the seller must document the transaction with DESPP, maintain copies of the record, and obtain an authorization number from DESPP; (b) the buyer must undergo a national instant criminal background check system (NICS) check; (c) the gun cannot be loaded when transferred; and (d) DESPP must authorize or deny the sale or transfer); or
- Starting on January 1, 2014, a federally licensed firearm dealer, upon the request of the prospective transferor or transferee, must consent to initiate a NICS check in accordance with the procedures set forth below, and the background check must show that the transferee is eligible to receive the gun.
To proceed under the second option, the prospective transferor or transferee must provide the consenting dealer with the transferee’s name, gender, race, date of birth, and state of residence. If necessary to verify the person’s identity, he or she may also provide a unique numeric identifier (such as a Social Security number) and additional identifiers (such as height, weight, eye and hair color, and place of birth).
The prospective transferee must present to the dealer his or her gun credential (gun eligibility certificate, handgun permit, handgun sale permit, or handgun eligibility certificate). The dealer can charge up to $20 for initiating the background check.
The dealer must initiate the background check by contacting the NICS operations center. The dealer must immediately notify the prospective transferor or transferee of the response from the center. The sale or transfer cannot take place if the response indicates the prospective transferee is ineligible to receive the gun.
When the transaction is completed, the transferor or transferee must complete a DESPP-prescribed form containing the: 1) transferor’s name, address, and firearm permit or certificate number, if any; 2) transferee’s name, address, date and place of birth, and firearm permit or certificate number; 3) sale or transfer date; 4) caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number and a general description of the gun; and 5) background check transaction number.
Prior to the transfer of any firearm at a gun show, the transferee must undergo a background check. See the Gun Shows in Connecticut section for more information.
In Connecticut, any person who sells, delivers or otherwise transfers a firearm to a person knowing that person is prohibited from possessing the firearm “shall be strictly liable for damages for the injury or death of another person resulting from the use of such firearm by any person.”
Connecticut prohibits any person not authorized by law from conveying or passing any firearm to any inmate of a correctional or humane institution.
For laws aimed at gun trafficking, see the section entitled Firearms Trafficking in Connecticut.
For laws requiring the sale of a locking device to accompany the sale of a handgun, see the Locking Devices in Connecticut section. Retail handgun sellers must also provide the purchaser with a written warning stating that unlawful storage of a firearm may result in imprisonment or fine.
For laws requiring firearm sellers to retain records of sales, see the Retention of Firearm Sales & Background Checks Records in Connecticut section.
See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.