HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut House of Representatives passed House Bill 6667, a comprehensive legislative proposal to address gun violence, by a bipartisan vote of 96-51, on May 25. It needs to be approved by the Senate before the governor can sign it into law.
The House Bill, An Act Addressing Gun Violence, was introduced by Governor Ned Lamont to reduce gun violence, stop mass shootings, and prevent firearms accidents and suicides.
“We need to do everything we can to keep our communities safe and prevent those who intend on doing harm from accessing these deadly weapons,” Lamont said. “The provisions included in this legislation are supported by the overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents – including many gun owners – because they want to live in a community with commonsense measures that encourage gun safety and prevent harm from impacting our neighborhoods and homes.”
He added that the bill was crafted with input from the public after a lengthy public hearing. Democrat and Republican legislators sat down with his administration to develop the final language included in the legislation.
“I appreiate everone who worked with us on getting the bill to this point – including judiciary co-chairs Senator Gary Winfield and Representative Steve Stafstrom – and I strongly encourage the Senate to vote on this bill and get it to my desk so that I can sign it into law,” said Lamont.
Some of the major provisions in the bill include:
- 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 assembled before that ban was enacted. 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 30 days 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 dealers violating 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. Owners can continue possessing them if registered, 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 retailing semiautomatic rifles with a capacity greater than five rounds to anyone under 21, including 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 a commission of such a crime after October 1, 2023, as a qualifier for criminal possession of a firearm.
- Trigger locks: All firearms, not just handguns, must be sold with a trigger lock.
- Transport: Clarifies that all long guns, including ones categorized as “other,” must be carried and 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: Create a timeline for local authorities to act on the first stage of the pistol permitting process.
On December 14, 2012, 20 children and six educators were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
At present, Connecticut has no limit to the number of firearms purchased at one time. Buyers of handguns must be 21 years old, 18+ for long guns with a two-week waiting period. For concealed carry guns, buyers must be 21+ with a permit and complete firearm safety training; permits last five years. To openly carry a gun, a gun owner must have a permit for handguns and no laws specifically for the open carrying of long guns.
Assault weapons are allowed if possessed before July 1, 1994; specific automatic and semiautomatic weapons are prohibited, and machine guns prohibited
–-With Jay Domingo/PDM