Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
On Friday, the Connecticut State Senate approved stricter gun laws in a 24-11 vote. The bill was passed along party lines.
“These updates are supported by the overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents because they want to live in a community that has commonsense measures that encourage gun safety and prevent harm from impacting our neighborhoods and homes,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a press release.
After the vote, the bill was sent to the governor’s desk to be ratified.
Table of contents
Tightening Connecticut Gun Laws
HB 6667 holds the first firearm restrictions since 2013 when gross 2A infringements were enacted in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. This bill continues to bind Connecticut citizens through, (drum roll please) you guessed it, “common sense” gun control measures.
Once signed by the governor, HB 6667 will outlaw the open carrying of firearms, harden rules for the safe storage of firearms, and further expand the ban on AR-15s and other sporting rifles.
In regard to the sporting rifle ban, residents will be allowed to retain such weapons, however, the sale or transfer of them will be prohibited.
Further, the bill regulates the sale of body armor to civilians and limits the sale of handguns to three per person per month.
It also increases the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21, requires additional training for permit holders, and limits the sale of DIY gun parts kits.
Additionally, CT will see tougher penalties against perpetrators of gun-related crimes.
Although similar legislation has recently been vetoed in other states, it is likely HB 6667 will be signed by the governor as he is the one who initially proposed the bill.
Response to Connecticut Firearm Restrictions
Although Democratic lawmakers largely agree with Sen. Derek Slap (D) that “This bill is going to save lives,” their Republican counterparts are not convinced.
“I firmly believe that every new gun law we impose in Connecticut is simply just another infringement on what I believe are our constitutional rights under the Second Amendment,” said Sen. Eric Berthel (R), per the CT Mirror.
Further, Sen. Lisa Seminara (R) stated, “Sadly, this bill does nothing to address actual gun crime in urban and poverty-stricken areas where true reform is so desperately needed and does nothing to better enforce Connecticut’s already strict gun laws.”
The bill has already seen one legal attempt to put it to rest.
However, a restraining order intended to halt the bill’s progress was rejected by a federal judge
Republican Sen. Rob Sampson, leader of the opposition, stated, “The bill is ripe for a legal challenge.”
List of the Major Provisions
- Open carry: Bans the open carrying of firearms in public, while continuing to allow concealed carry with a permit except for particular locations.
- High-risk repeat offenders: Increases bail, probation and parole responses for the extremely narrow group of people with repeated serious firearm offenses.
- Ghost guns: Updates the state’s 2019 ban on unregistered “ghost guns” to include those that were assembled prior to the enactment of that ban. Those ghost guns must be registered with the state by January 1, 2024.
- Bulk purchase of guns: Prevents the bulk purchasing of handguns to discourage straw purchases by barring the sale, delivery, or transfer of more than three handguns to an individual in a 30-day period, or six handguns for an instructor. Law enforcement agencies, returns/exchanges, and transfers to a museum are exempted.
- Gun dealer accountability: Increases gun dealer accountability by permitting the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to issue a notice of violation and impose an order barring sales for any dealers violating any of their responsibilities.
- Safe storage: Expands the state’s safe storage laws to all situations, not only those where a minor or prohibited person may gain access to a firearm.
- Assault weapons ban: Closes loopholes in the state’s ban on assault weapons by including “other” firearms with banned features analogous to those on banned pistols and rifles and pre-September 13, 1994, “pre-ban” firearms that were carved out of the original ban. A new registration will open for these 2023 assault weapons. If purchased before the date of passage, these weapons can be registered until May 1, 2024. If registered, owners can continue possessing them but further transfers are generally barred.
- Large-capacity magazine ban: Ensures enforceability of the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines by making possession a class D felony for prohibited persons and a class A misdemeanor for non-prohibited persons.
- Underage purchases of guns: Expands the state’s existing prohibition on the retail sale of semiautomatic rifles with capacity greater than five rounds to anyone under the age of 21 to also include private sales.
- Pistol permit training: Updates the training requirements for pistol permits and eligibility certificates to require instruction on safe storage, state firearms laws, and lawful use of firearms.
- Domestic violence: Makes commission of a family violence crime or federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence into an automatic disqualifier for having a pistol permit, and adds commission of such a crime after October 1, 2023, as a qualifier for criminal possession of a firearm.
- Trigger locks: Requires all firearms, not just handguns, to be sold with a trigger lock.
- Transport: Clarifies that all long guns, including ones categorized as “other,” must be carried unloaded in a vehicle.
- Body armor: Requires anyone purchasing body armor to possess a pistol permit or eligibility certificate. This includes exemptions for certain law enforcement officers, state and judicial officials, and military personnel.
- Permitting timelines: Creates a timeline for local authorities to act on the first stage of the pistol permitting process.
Update: 6/6/23 – Gov. Lamont Signs Bill Into Law
“Connecticut has shown time and again that we can improve public safety by implementing reasonable gun violence prevention laws while also respecting the rights of Americans to own guns for their own protection and sportsmanship. This bill that I’ve signed continues that fair, commonsense balance,” Lamont said in a statement Tuesday.