Connecticut

Updated as of Tuesday, February 18, 2014.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

Article 1, Section 15.

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNSHANDGUNS
Permit to PurchaseYes*Yes
Registration of FirearmsYes**No
Licensing of OwnersYes**Yes
Permit to CarryNoYes

* After April 1. 2014 a long gun "eligibility certificate" is required.

** "Assault Weapons".

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

Reciprocity

  • These states recognize Connecticut permits:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin
  • Connecticut recognizes permits from:
  • None

Map of states recognizing Connecticut permits:

A synopsis of Connecticut state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

Prior to April 1, 2014 no sale, delivery, or other transfer of any long gun shall be made until the expiration of two weeks from the date of the application. Current exceptions include federal marshals, parole officers, or peace officers.  READ ALL

Beginning on and after April 1, 2014 no person may purchase a long gun unless such person holds a valid long gun eligibility certificate, a valid permit to carry a pistol or revolver, a valid permit to sell at retail a pistol or revolver, or a valid eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver, or is a federal marshal, parole officer, or peace officer. 

No person, firm, or corporation may deliver, sell, or otherwise transfer any firearm  defined as a “long gun” to any person unless such person makes application on a form prescribed and furnished by the Commissioner of Emergency Services  and Public Protection.  No sale, delivery, or any other transfer of any long gun shall be made until the person, firm, or corporation making such sale, delivery, or transfer has ensured that such application has been completed properly and has obtained an authorization number from the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection for such sale, delivery, or transfer. 

If the applicant is ineligible to receive such firearm, then the Commissioner of Emergency Service and Public Protection shall immediately notify the person, firm, or corporation to whom such application was made and no such firearm shall be sold, delivered, or transferred by such person, firm, or corporation to the applicant.  When any firearm is delivered in connection with any sale, delivery, or transfer the firearm shall be enclosed in a package, the paper or wrapping of which shall be securely fastened, and no such item when delivered on any sale or purchase shall be loaded or contain any gunpowder or other explosive or any bullet, ball or shell.

Upon the sale, delivery, or other transfer of a firearm, the transferee shall sign in triplicate a receipt for such firearm, which shall contain the name, address, date and place of birth, date of sale, delivery, or transfer, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturers number and general description thereof.  Then the transferor (vendor) shall within 24 hours  of the sale, delivery, or transfer shall send by first class mail or electronically transfer one receipt to the chief of police, where there is no chief of police, the warden of the borough or the first selectman, of the town in which the purchaser resides.  The vendor shall also retain 1 receipt with the original application for at least 5 years.  

No sale, delivery, or other transfer of any long gun shall be made by a person who is not a federally-licensed firearm manufacturer, importer, or dealer to a person who is not a federally-licensed firearm manufacturer, importer, or dealer unless:

  1. The prospective transferor and transferee has received authorization from the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
  2. A national instant background check (NICS) has been initiated by a federally-licensed firearm dealer who has consented to initiate such check at the request of the prospective transferor or prospective transferee in accordance with other requirements including possessing a valid eligibility certificate (long gun or hand gun), valid permit to carry a pistol or revolver, or a valid permit to sell at retail a pistol or revolver.
  3. Background check fee may not exceed $20.  Those who wish to use this transfer system must have all relevant documents to fulfill the legal requirements.  

Effective July 1, 2013

Any person who is 18 years of age or older may apply to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection for a long gun eligibility certificate.  The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall issue a long gun eligibility certificate unless the Commissioner finds that the applicant is disqualified under section 2(b).  Anyone issued a long gun eligibility certificate must notify the Commissioner with 2 business days of a change in address.  The initial fee/renewal fee associated with the long gun eligibility certificate is $35.00.  Long gun eligibility certificates are valid for a period of 5 years. 

Any revocation of certificate shall be made in writing to holder of such certificate.  The holder of a revoked certificate must surrender certificate within 5 days or face legal action.  Appeals can be made within 90 days of any refusal to issue a certificate or permit. 

The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection can conduct a national criminal history records check and issue an ammunition certificate costing $35.00 and is valid for 5 years.  

Handguns

A permit to carry a handgun, a permit to sell handguns, or a handgun eligibility certificate is required to purchase a pistol or revolver.  Any person, firm or corporation who sells or otherwise transfers a handgun must contact the Connecticut State Police to verify the validity of the permit to carry handguns or the handgun eligibility certificate. 

Any person who is twenty-one years of age or older may apply to the Commissioner of Public Safety for an eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver.  The Commissioner must issue this certificate if the applicant may lawfully possess a handgun under state and federal law, and has successfully completed an approved handgun safety or training course.  The applicant must be fingerprinted and pay all appropriate fees ($35).  The certificate is valid for 5 years.  The Commissioner of Public Safety must be notified within 2 business days of an address change. A certificate of eligibility for a handgun does not authorize an individual to carry a pistol or revolver.

It is unlawful to sell or transfer a handgun to any person who is forbidden to possess a firearm under state or federal law, or to a person under 21. However, a handgun may be temporarily transferred to a person under 21 for target shooting under the immediate supervision of a person eligible to possess a handgun and such use is otherwise permitted by law.  No person, firm or corporation shall sell, deliver or otherwise transfer any pistol or revolver at retail unless such pistol or revolver is equipped with a reusable trigger lock, gun lock or gun locking device.




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POSSESSION

A person must be twenty-one years of age to possess a handgun.

It is unlawful to possess a handgun by a person who has been convicted of a felony; convicted as a delinquent of a serious juvenile offense which includes illegal possession of a controlled substance, negligent homicide, third degree assault, first degree reckless endangerment, second degree unlawful restraint, rioting, or second degree stalking; discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after acquittal by reason of mental disease or defect; confined by court order for mental illness within the preceding 12 months; subject to a restraining or protective order involving physical force; or an illegal alien. It is unlawful to possess any other firearm by a person who has been convicted of a felony.

CARRYING

A permit to carry a pistol or revolver is required to carry a handgun on or about one’s person, either openly or concealed, or in a vehicle. However, the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (which reviews denials and revocations of permits) cautions that "every effort should be made to ensure that no gun is exposed to view or carried in a manner that would tend to alarm people who see it."  READ ALL

A permit to carry is required to carry a handgun outside one’s home (even though one may still be on his own property) or in any place of business in which one is merely an employee, not an owner or operator. A permit is also required to transport a handgun back and forth between one’s home and place of business, or to and from a range for target shooting.

In order to receive a state permit to Carry Pistol and Revolvers, a local permit must be obtained first.  Out-of-state residents may apply for a non-resident Connecticut State Pistol Permit, and apply directly to the Connecticut State Police.

The application paperwork may be obtained from a local police department, city or town hall or first selectman's office in the case of a local permit, or any state police barracks in the case of a state pistol permit.  An applicant is required to complete a handgun safety course prior to submitting the application.  An applicant must also submit to a background investigation, criminal history check and submit photographs in connection with the application. 

An applicant may be issued a concealed carry license if the local licensing authority finds that the applicant:

  • Is twenty-one years of age;
  • Is a legal resident of the United States; (Applicants must provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, voters' registration card or a U.S. passport.  Legal Alien Residents must provide Alien Registration numbers and 90-day proof of residency.  Naturalized citizens require proof of citizenship)
  • Has a residence or business in the jurisdiction in which they are applying;
  • Intends to use the handgun for only lawful purposes;
  • Is a "suitable person" to receive a permit; (The suitability clause applies both to the issuance of new permits and the revocation of existing permits)
  • Has not been convicted of a felony or a violation of;
    • Criminal possession of a narcotic substance;
    • Criminally negligent homicide;
    • Assault in the third degree;
    • Reckless endangerment in the first degree;
    • Unlawful restraint in the second degree;
    • Riot in the first degree;
    • Stalking in the second degree;
  • Has not been convicted as a delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense;
  • Has not been discharged from custody within the preceding twenty years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect;
  • Is not subject to a restraining or protective order issued by a court in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person;
  • Is not subject to a firearms seizure order issued for posing a risk of personal injury to self or others after a hearing; or
  • Is not prohibited from possessing a firearm for having been adjudicated as a mentally incompetent under federal law.
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NON-RESIDENTS

A non-resident of Connecticut may obtain a permit to carry a pistol or revolver by contacting the Connecticut State Police Special License and Firearm Unit.

A non-resident may carry a handgun in or through Connecticut without a permit for the purpose of taking part in a competition; for the purpose of repairing such pistol or revolver; to attend formal pistol or revolver training or to attend a meeting or an exhibition of an organized collectors group provided he is a resident of the U .S. and has a valid permit to carry a pistol or revolver in the state or subdivision of the U.S. in which such person resides.

ANTIQUES AND REPLICAS

An antique firearm is defined as “any firearm which was manufactured in or before 1898 and any replica of such firearm provided such replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition except rimfire or conventional centerfire ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and not readily available in the ordinary channel of commercial trade.”

“ASSAULT WEAPONS”

No person shall possess any "assault weapon" unless that person possessed that firearm before October 1, 1993 and received a certificate of possession from the Connecticut State Police prior to July 1994. The commissioner of public safety shall maintain a file of all certificates of transfer at the central office.  READ ALL

No assault weapon may be sold or transferred to any person other than to a licensed gun dealer, or any individual who arranged in advance to relinquish it to a police department or the department of public safety, or by bequest or intestate succession. Any person who obtains title to an assault weapon for which a certificate of possession has been issued by bequest or intestate succession shall, within 90 days of obtaining title, apply to the department of public safety for a certificate of possession, render the weapon inoperable, sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer, or remove the weapon from the state. Any person who moves into the state in lawful possession of an assault weapon shall, within 90 days, render it permanently inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer, or remove it from the state.

A person who has been issued a certificate of possession of an assault weapon/large capacity magazine may possess it only under the following conditions:

  • At the person’s residence, place of business or other property owned by that person, or on property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
  • While on the premises of a target range of a public or private club or organization organized for the purpose of practicing shooting at targets;
  • While on a target range which holds a regulatory or business license for the purpose of practicing shooting at that target range;
  • While on the premises of a licensed shooting club;
  • While attending any exhibition, display or educational project which is about firearms and which is sponsored by, conducted under the auspices of, or approved by a law enforcement agency or a nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in, or promotes education about, firearms; or
  • While transporting the assault weapon between any of the places mentioned above, or to any licensed gun dealer, for servicing or repair, provided the assault weapon is unloaded, kept in the trunk of such vehicle or in a case or other container which is inaccessible to the operator of or any passenger in such vehicle.
  • A person who is an executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon/ large capacity magazine, for which a certificate of possession has been issued.
  • Has been issued a certificate for an assault weapon certificate prior to July, 1, 1993 or a large capacity magazine certificate prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

The theft of a lawfully possessed assault weapon must be reported to the police within 72 hours of discovery.  Any person who obtains title to an assault weapon/large capacity magazine, for which a certificate of possession has been issued under this section by bequest or intestate secession shall within 90 days apply to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection for a certificate of possession.  Any person who moves into the state has 90 days to submit an application to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection for the proper certificates.  All sales and transfers of such assault weapons or large capacity magazines must be submitted to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection. 

An “Assault Weapon” is defined as: Any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user or any of the following specified semiautomatic firearms listed on the Connecticut Commissioner of Service and Public Protection.  The term “assault weapon” does not include any firearm modified to render it permanently inoperable.

Large Capacity Magazines

A large capacity magazine is a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.  Any person who possesses a large capacity magazine on or after January 1, 2014 shall be guilty of a class D felony.  Exceptions include members or employees of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, police departments, the Department of Correction or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States for use in the discharge of their official duties or when off duty; Employees of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensee operating a nuclear power generating facility in this state for the purposes of providing security services at such facility, or any person, firm, corporation, contractor or subcontractor providing security services for this facility; Any person, firm, or corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing large capacity magazines in this state that manufactures or transports large capacity magazines in this state for sale within this state to persons specified in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection or for sale outside this state.

Other exemptions to the possession of large capacity magazines include the transfer of a large capacity magazine to a licensed firearm dealer, police department, Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the transfer or bequest or interstate succession of a large capacity magazine.  

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MACHINE GUNS

It is lawful to possess a machine gun in compliance with federal law, provided annual registration takes place with the state police. A machine gun is any weapon designed or readily restored to shoot automatically more than one projectile, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. It also includes parts designed to convert a weapon into a machine gun. Each machine gun shall be registered in the office of the commissioner of public safety within 24 hours after acquisition and, thereafter, annually on July 1.  READ ALL

A presumption of possession for an offensive or aggressive purpose is raised:

  • By failure to register a machine gun of a type required to be registered (see above);
  • By possession at a place other than the possessor’s home, land or place of business;
  • When empty or loaded cartridges which have been or are susceptible for use in the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity thereof; or
  • When in the possession of, or used by unnaturalized foreign-born persons or person convicted of crimes of violence.

Possession of a machine gun for an “aggressive or offensive purpose” is prohibited, and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 and imprisonment of not less than 5 years nor more than 10 years.

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Preemption

Generally a local government is preempted from regulating a subject matter when a state has demonstrated an intent to occupy the entire field of regulation in that area or when the ordinance at issue irreconcilably conflicts with a state law. Dwyer v. Farrell, 475 A.2d 257, 261 (Conn. 1984). Essentially absent a direct conflict with state law, broad local firearms and ammunitions regulation is possible READ ALL

Preemption through judicial ruling of specifically Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 29-28 (1977), which regulates handgun sales.  Dwyer v. Farrell, 475 A.2d 257, 261 (Conn. 1984).  Municipal ordinance which had the effect of prohibiting the retail of handguns unless the seller was a dealer and unless the sale occurred on premises located in an area zoned as a business district was preempted by § 29-28 regulating handgun sales, where § 29-28 did not prohibit otherwise qualified sellers from making handgun sales even though the sellers were nondealers and lived in residential neighborhoods.  

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Range Protection

All shooting ranges in operation on and after October 1, 1998 are exempt from civil or criminal claims of noise if the range is operating according to regulations in effect at that time.  READ ALL

§ 22a-74a. Exemption of firing and shooting ranges from criminal and civil liability for noise and noise pollution

(a) Any owner, operator or user of a firing or shooting range operating on October 1, 1998, shall be exempt from criminal prosecution with respect to noise or noise pollution violations and immune from civil liability with respect to noise or noise pollution resulting from shooting activity on such range provided the range was, at the time of its construction or operational approval by the municipality in which it is located, in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and regulations adopted hereunder.

(b) No standards in a noise control ordinance adopted by any municipality for limiting levels of noise in terms of decibel level which may occur in the outdoor atmosphere shall apply to any firing or shooting range exempted from liability under this section if such standards are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder. 

(c) This section shall not limit the ability of a municipality to evaluate and regulate any increase in noise attributable to a physical expansion of an existing firing or shooting range.

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MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

A person must report the loss or theft of any firearm to the local police department within 72 hours of when such person discovered or should have discovered the loss or theft. Any person who fails to make the required report within the required time period shall commit an infraction and be fined not more than $90.00 for a first offense and be guilty of a class D felony for any subsequent offense. A person who violates this law for the first offense does not lose a person's right to hold or obtain any firearm permit.  READ ALL

Loaded shotguns and rifles may not be carried in a vehicle or snowmobile. Muzzle-loading rifles and muzzle-loading shotguns are regarded as “unloaded” even though a charge may be in the bore, provided there is no powder in the flash pan or percussion cap on the nipple.

It is unlawful for any person to transport a BB gun unless it is stored in the trunk of the vehicle or other locked container.

It is unlawful to alter, remove, deface, or obliterate the name of any maker or model or maker’s number or other mark of identification on any firearm. The possession of any firearm with its numbers or other marks altered creates a legal presumption that the possessor committed the offense.

Any person convicted of carrying a firearm without a permit shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for less than 1 year or both, noting that absent mitigating circumstances, the sentence may not be suspended or reduced by the Court.

No person shall keep or store any loaded firearm on any premises under his control if he knows or reasonably should know that a person under 16 is likely to gain access without a parent’s or guardian’s permission, unless it is in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secured, is carried on the person or within close proximity, or is in a locked container.

It is unlawful to distribute, transport or import, keep or offer for sale, or possess an “assault weapon” except as provided.

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Sources: General Statutes of Connecticut, Title 29 et.al. and Title 53, §202, §205, §217.

2013 Bill analysis: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/ba/2013SB-01160-R00-BA.htm

State of Connecticut FAQ: http://www.ct.gov/despp/lib/despp/slfu/faqs_06192013.pdf

CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

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