Governor Lamont Commemorates 30th Anniversary of Assault Weapons Ban, Urges Legislative Approval of 2023 Gun Violence Prevention Proposals
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today hosted a ceremony at the Connecticut State Capitol complex in Hartford to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the enactment of Connecticut’s 1993 assault weapons ban.
During the event, the governor urged the State Senate to continue Connecticut’s nationwide leading efforts on this topic by giving final legislative approval to a comprehensive series of reforms he proposed during the 2023 session that will further strengthen the assault weapons ban and are focused on reducing gun violence, stopping mass shootings, and preventing firearm accidents and suicides.
Connecticut became only the third state in the nation to enact an assault weapons ban on June 8, 1993, when then-Governor Lowell Weicker signed legislation that was approved days earlier by both chambers of the General Assembly. Former and current lawmakers who were integral in its passage 30 years ago joined Governor Lamont at the ceremony to mark the anniversary, including former State Senator George Jepsen, former State Representative Mike Lawlor, current State Representative Bob Godfrey, and former State Representative Susan Bysiewicz, who currently serves as Connecticut’s lieutenant governor.
“Thirty years ago, Connecticut became a nationwide leader when our state became among one of the first in the country to enact an assault weapons ban, and those lawmakers who fought for its enactment all those decades ago are to be commended and applauded for their efforts to keep the people of our state safe from gun violence,” Governor Lamont said. “Still, our federal laws and the laws of other states have not kept up, and the threat of gun violence throughout the United States remains very real. As much as we need Congress and other states to act, we can continue to strengthen our state laws here in Connecticut. I strongly urge the State Senate to pass House Bill 6667 and keep our state a leader in these efforts.”
Introduced by Governor Lamont, House Bill 6667 was approved by the House of Representatives on May 25, 2023, on a bipartisan vote of 96-51. It is currently waiting to be acted upon in the Senate. Some of the major provisions in that 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 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.