Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Strengthening Gun Violence Prevention Laws
Portions of the Bill Became Effective Immediately Upon Receiving the Governor’s Signature Today
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed into law legislation that received bipartisan support in the General Assembly strengthening Connecticut’s gun violence prevention laws. The comprehensive bill includes provisions to prevent community gun violence, stop mass shootings, avoid firearm-related accidents, add protections for domestic violence victims, and avert suicides.
The legislation, House Bill 6667, was proposed by Governor Lamont at the start of this year’s legislative session and developed in consultation with bipartisan state lawmakers. Input came from diverse stakeholders, including mayors, police chiefs, prosecutors, victim advocates, gun safety advocates, families who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and many others.
While the bill’s sections have various effective dates, portions closing loopholes in the assault weapons ban regarding so-called “other” firearms and “pre-ban” firearms became effective immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature today.
(For a detailed analysis of the bill, including its effective dates, click here.)
“This bill that I just signed takes smart and strategic steps to strengthen the laws in Connecticut to prevent tragedy from happening,” Governor Lamont said. “As more and more shootings have occurred over the last decade – including mass shootings – federal and state laws have not kept up with the innovative ways firearm companies are manufacturing guns, especially those that are being designed with the sole intention of killing the largest number of people possible in the shortest amount of time. Our country still needs strong federal laws on firearm safety and gun violence prevention with the breadth to impact every state. The inaction of Congress on critical legislation to keep Americans safe requires each state to act individually. Over the years, 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. I appreciate the bipartisan group of legislators who thoughtfully considered this bill and voted in favor of sending it to my desk, and I especially thank the leadership of the General Assembly and the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Gary Winfield and Representative Steve Stafstrom, for their thoughtful and tireless work on the bill.”
Some of the bill’s major provisions include:
- Open carry: Bans the open carrying of firearms in public, while continuing to allow concealed carry with a permit.
- 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 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.