Gun restrictions are tight in Connecticut. In fact, they're some of the tightest in the country. In 2017, Connecticut ranked as the third-highest state for firearm provisions. That year, The Constitution State had 89 firearm regulations on the books, behind only California and Massachusetts, which had 106 and 100, respectively.
Although Connecticut has many laws surrounding firearms, there are just as many myths floating around about those regulations. So, what are the laws on firearms in Connecticut, and what are the myths? Perhaps more importantly, what are the truths behind those misconceptions? As a New Haven weapons charge lawyer, I can help.
Gun Control Facts in New Haven
If you are thinking about purchasing a firearm or already own one, it is crucial that you understand the laws on firearms in Connecticut. Below are some of the most important gun control facts you need to know about Connecticut.
- Individuals who wish to purchase a handgun must obtain a permit.
- Individuals must be 21 or older to purchase a firearm.
- Individuals purchasing a firearm are fingerprinted at the time of purchase.
- Individuals who want to apply for a concealed carry permit must undergo a background check. This check is performed when you first apply for a permit and when you apply for a renewal.
- Individuals with a felony conviction are prohibited from owning firearms.
- Individuals who have been involuntarily admitted to an inpatient or outpatient facility are prohibited from owning a firearm.
- Individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are prohibited from owning firearms.
- Connecticut does not have a stand your ground law.
- Open carrying of guns is prohibited in public places, unless an individual has a carry permit.
- No firearms, with or without a permit, can be carried onto the grounds of an elementary school. The only exception is for security staff.
- When children can access firearms due to negligent security, it is a criminal offense.
- Firearms dealers are required to obtain a license.
- Firearm owners must report lost or stolen guns.
It's important to understand the facts about firearm ownership in Connecticut. It's also important to know the myths that are out there, and the truth behind them.
Gun Control Myths in New Haven
Myths come from a number of places. Most of the time, they stem from someone simply not fully understanding the gun laws in the state. According to The Washington Post, some of the biggest myths include:
- Myth: Gun violence in the United States is higher than it has ever been. Fact: Gun violence has increased in recent years, but it's not at a historical high. In 1993, the rate of firearm violence was 6.21 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2016, the rate was down to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
- Myth: Background checks reduce gun violence and homicide rates. Fact: Background checks do help prevent guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people. However, there is no research proving that background checks as they are today actually reduce homicide rates or instances of gun violence.
- Myth: Mental illness is the cause of most gun violence. Fact: Only 4 percent of gun violence is committed by individuals suffering from a mental illness such as bipolar disorder.
- Myth: More people carrying guns makes the streets safer. Fact: The theory behind this myth is sound. If more people carry guns, there are more people to protect others in active shootings and crisis situations. However, this is a myth. In states that have right to carry laws, gun violence has increased each year the law has been in effect. Additionally, few armed civilians, if any, have ever stopped a mass shooting.
- Myth: There is no reason behind a mass shooting. Fact: Although people may never know or understand the shooter's motive, perpetrators of mass shootings usually pick a place, or the people involved, for a reason.
While there are many more myths surrounding firearms and gun violence, these are some of the most common. It's important to understand them in order to understand the way firearms are sometimes viewed in society.
FAQs About Gun Ownership in Connecticut
It's important to know the answers to common questions about gun ownership in Connecticut so you don't unintentionally break the law.
What is a gun permit?
A gun permit is a document that allows you to carry handguns in the state of Connecticut. When carrying a gun outside of your own property, you must also carry your permit.
What are the requirements for obtaining a gun permit?
To obtain a gun permit, you must pass a state-approved course in handgun safety and use. You must also undergo a criminal history record check, and the official issuing you a permit must determine that you are a suitable person to have a permit. The law does not specify what constitutes a suitable person.
What is the difference between a gun permit and an eligibility certificate?
Gun permits allow you to carry a handgun with you on or off your property, with some areas such as elementary schools restricted. An eligibility certificate allows you to acquire guns, but does not permit you to carry them off the property of your home or business.
Who can own assault weapons?
In Connecticut, law enforcement officers and military personnel are allowed to own and carry assault weapons when they are on duty. If you have a Certificate of Possession issued by the Special Licensing Firearms Unit, and assault weapons are listed, you can also own an assault weapon.
How can I obtain a Certificate of Possession for my assault weapon?
Currently, you cannot. You had to apply for a certificate prior to January 1, 2014.
What can I do if I moved to Connecticut with an assault weapon?
You have 90 days to sell it to a licensed gun dealer. If you cannot or choose not to do that, you can render it permanently inoperable. Selling it to an out-of-state dealer or turning the weapon over to a law enforcement agency are also options. If you do not take any of these steps, you risk being charged with a felony.
Charged with a Crime? Talk to a New Haven Gun Possession Lawyer Today
Even when they know the law and try to abide by it, people still sometimes face charges. If you've been charged with a weapons crime, contact me, New Haven criminal defense lawyer Erin Field, at Field Law Office, LLC, today.
I am passionate about standing up for the rights of those facing gun charges in New Haven, and I will build a solid defense for you.