Governor Lamont Announces 2023 Legislative Proposal: Improve Gun Safety Laws To Prevent Suicides, Accidents, and Domestic Violence
Today’s Gun Violence Prevention Proposals Are the Third Set the Governor Has Introduced So Far This Session
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced the third and final set of proposals he will introduce during the 2023 legislative session that are focused on strengthening Connecticut’s efforts to eliminate gun violence. This set is concentrated on preventing suicides, accidents, and domestic violence, and it includes:
- Requiring a ten-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm;
- Increasing education requirements for firearm licenses;
- Requiring safe storage regardless of who lives at a given residence;
- Improving the design safety standards for semiautomatic handguns;
- Making commission of a family violence crime or being a fugitive an automatic disqualifier for holding a pistol permit;
- Prohibiting the carrying of any loaded long gun in a vehicle; and
- Requiring trigger locks for all firearm purchases.
The proposals will be included as part of the governor’s package of priorities for the 2023 legislative session that he will present to the Connecticut General Assembly on February 8. Last week, he announced two other sets of gun violence prevention proposals, one of which is focused on eliminating community gun violence, and the other on preventing mass shootings.
“The overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents want commonsense measures enacted that encourage gun safety and prevent harm from impacting our homes and our communities,” Governor Lamont said. “This is especially needed to prevent tragic accidents, as well as instances of domestic violence and suicide.”
Requiring a ten-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm
Current state law allows residents with the appropriate documentation to walk into a gun store, purchase an unlimited number of firearms, and walk out with them immediately. In conjunction with the bulk purchasing limit announced last week, Governor Lamont is proposing a ten-day waiting period on sales of all firearms in Connecticut. This proposal has been proven by numerous academic studies to save lives by preventing suicide and domestic violence.
Increasing education requirements for firearm licenses
Firearm permits can currently be obtained with only a short course approved by the NRA. Crucially, there is no requirement that these courses inform users on how to follow Connecticut’s high standards for responsible gun ownership. Governor Lamont is proposing to modestly expand the requirements for the initial application for a pistol permit to four hours of classroom training and two hours of shooting practice, and set a one-year deadline so knowledge must be fresh.
Requiring safe storage regardless of who lives at a given residence
In 2019, Governor Lamont and the General Assembly enacted Ethan’s Law (Public Act 19-5), which was a crucial step towards ensuring that all firearms are stored safely. That law currently applies when minors, people prohibited from possessing firearms, or people likely to cause harm have access to a residence. Governor Lamont’s proposal, which seeks to avoid firearms from being stolen and used in crimes, expands this landmark law by making all firearm owners responsible for storing firearms safely, regardless of who else has access to the residence.
Improving the design safety standards for semiautomatic handguns
Users sometimes miss that a semiautomatic pistol may still have a round chambered when the magazine is removed. This issue can lead to accidents when a gun is being disassembled or cleaned. Modern models can have a “loaded chamber indicator,” a visual indication that a round is chambered, and a “magazine disconnect lockout,” a switch that prevents the trigger being pulled if the magazine has been removed. Governor Lamont is proposing to require that all semiautomatic handguns sold in the state after January 1, 2024, have both features.
Making commission of a family violence crime or being a fugitive an automatic disqualifier for holding a pistol permit
Anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence is automatically disqualified from owning a gun under federal law, but not from holding a state permit, and the definitions differ. Consequently, the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection must hold a time-consuming suitability hearing in each case. Instead, Governor Lamont is proposing to automatically disqualify anyone who has been convicted of a family violence crime from holding a state gun permit.
Prohibiting the carrying of any loaded long gun in a vehicle
Governor Lamont is proposing to enact a law clarifying that all long guns, including ones categorized as “other,” must be carried unloaded in a vehicle.
Requiring trigger locks for all firearm purchases
Governor Lamont is proposing to require that all guns, not only handguns, be sold with a trigger lock to enable safe storage.