Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a meeting to decide whether the committee is going to hear House Bill 6200. Introduced by state Representatives Caroline Simmons (D-144), William Tong (D-147), and Daniel J. Fox (D-148), HB 6200 would require a person openly carrying a firearm to display their permit immediately upon demand by law enforcement. Please contact the members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary and urge them not to hear this bill! Please click the “Take Action” button below to contact the committee members!
It is legal to openly carry a handgun in Connecticut so long as the person has a valid Permit to Carry. Connecticut State Police Training Bulletin 2013-01 states that “personnel should NOT arrest a properly permitted individual merely for publicly carrying a hand gun or firearm in plain view absent exigent circumstances.” Examples of these exigent circumstances are a “‘Breach of Peace’ situation or the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor/drugs.”
Under the Fourth Amendment, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio nearly half a century ago, police officers can stop and briefly detain a person to investigate only if they have a reasonable suspicion, supported by articulable facts that criminal activity is occurring. This is why Connecticut law should require that officers must have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is being committed before they can request proof of a permit.
This proposed bill is the equivalent of allowing the police to stop a motorist to demand their driver’s license solely because they are driving. Law-abiding people carry firearms for self-defense. They shouldn't be treated as being engaged in criminal activity simply because they are choosing to openly exercise their constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms.