Connecticut Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Connecticut

Ownership of firearms in Connecticut is governed by the Department of Public Safety’s Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. There are two different sets of regulations for gun ownership in Connecticut. One set for owning rifles or shotguns and one for pistols or handguns.

Connecticut LawsDespite its tiny size, Connecticut has a dense population of 3,600,400 people. It borders Long Island Sound on the south. On the west, Connecticut borders New York State. To the north it borders Massachusetts, with Rhode Island to the east.

Who can own a shotgun or rifle in Connecticut?

You must be 18-years old to purchase a rifle or shotgun. No permits are required to purchase or carry these guns, however there is a 2-week waiting period from the date of purchase to the time you receive your gun.

Who can own pistols or handguns in Connecticut?

You must be 21-years old and a legal resident of the United States to own a handgun or pistol in Connecticut. Before purchasing a firearm you must complete an approved training course and have passed a criminal background check, in addition to obtaining local and state permits.

Permit required to purchase Firearms and Ammunition

You must obtain a permit in order to purchase firearms or ammunition in Connecticut. Separate permits are required to purchase handguns, long guns, and ammunition. Applicants must complete a safety training course, pass a background check, and have clean mental health records in order to obtain a permit to purchase. Purchase permits are valid for five years, and there is no limit to the number of firearms or ammunition that may be purchased by valid permit holders. Background checks are required for all firearm sales. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a long gun or ammunition purchase permit, and 21 years old to apply for a handgun purchase permit.

Getting the Permits

Start by getting a local permit application from your local police department. The application costs $70 and will take 8-weeks to process. All the information you need to get a local permit is included with the application. Once you are approved you have 90-days to get the state permit, which costs an additional $70. You will need your local permit, proof of age, legal residence and photo identification to get your state permit. Don’t forget to complete an approved training course before applying for any permits.

Waiting Period

Connecticut does not impose a waiting period on firearm purchases or transfers. However, a purchaser or transferee must obtain a permit or certificate prior to receiving a firearm.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

It is generally illegal to transport a firearm in a vehicle in Connecticut without a carry permit. The exception is that an unloaded handgun may be transported, provided the firearm (and ammunition) is inside a locked container or not accessible from the passenger compartment, and You must be transporting the gun: to Your home or place of business, to or from a repair shop, to or from a competition, or when transporting Your household goods from one place to another.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Self-defense Laws

Connecticut has a Castle Doctrine law but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked on any property You own, control, or have permission to be on, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, kidnapping, an attempt by the intruder to commit arson or another violent crime, or to the extent necessary stop the unlawful & forcible entry into the property.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Connecticut does not honor any other state’s carry permit, but instead requires holders of out of state carry permits to apply for a permit to carry in Connecticut:

“Any bona fide resident of the United States having no bona fide residence or place of business within the jurisdiction of any local authority in the state, but who has a permit or license to carry a pistol or revolver issued by the authority of another state or subdivision of the United States, may apply directly to the Commissioner of Public Safety for a permit to carry a pistol or revolver in this state.” 28-29(f).

Connecticut’s most current reciprocity information may be referenced online.

What training programs are recognized?

An example of an approved handgun safety course would be the National Rifle Associations basic pistol course. Be sure to contact your local police department before paying for any handgun safety course to ensure it is approved.

Don’t Forget Live Fire

In addition to the training course an applicant must have fired an actual semi-automatic pistol or revolver. Simulations or air gun fire are not acceptable substitutions for live fire. Most training programs will include time spent operating a firearm after basic safety rules have been mastered.

Assault Weapons Ban

It is illegal to possess an assault weapon, unless it was possessed before October 1, 1993 or the individual received a certificate of possession from the Connecticut State Police prior to July of 1994. Assault weapons may not be sold or transferred to any person other than a licensed gun dealer or any individual who is going to relinquish it to the police. []

Theft of a lawfully possessed assault weapon must be reported within 72 hours by the person who possesses the title:

“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.”

High Capacity Magazine Ban

High-capacity magazines are defined as magazines capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds. There are two exceptions to this: tube/helical magazines for .22 firearms (even if detachable) and internal tube/helical magazines for lever action guns aren’t considered “large capacity” magazines even if they can hold >10 rounds, and are therefore legal. The transfer, sale, and possession of high-capacity magazines within the state is prohibited, subject to the following exception.

High-capacity magazines that were lawfully possessed before 4/4/13 were grandfathered in as long as their owners registered them with the state before 1/1/14. People who registered high-capacity magazines prior to 1/1/14 may continue to possess them, but may not sell or transfer them within the state. In addition, it is illegal to possess a high-capacity magazine (even if registered) that is loaded with more than 10 rounds, except at the owners’ residence or at a licensed shooting range. Even if one possesses a permit to carry and has registered magazines, it is illegal to have them loaded with more than 10 rounds in public.

What convictions make you ineligible for ownership?

Individuals who have been convicted of a felony can not apply to own a gun in Connecticut. Some misdemeanors will also prohibit you. They include possession of narcotics as well as certain types of homicide, assault, stalking, rioting, endangerment or unlawful restraint. This is only a partial list, so if you have been convicted of any of these offences or any other violent crime you should contact your local police department to discuss your situation.

Other Factors for Denial

Individuals with no criminal record can still be denied for gun ownership in Connecticut. If you’ve been found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity, you are not eligible to own a gun for at least 20-years from your release date. If you have a history of mental illness but have never committed a crime you may still be restricted from owning a gun, especially if you have spent time in an institution.

Appealing a Decision

If your application for a local or state permit is rejected an appeal may be submitted to the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners. You must first submit your appeal in writing no more than 90-days after the official rejection date. Then fill out and submit the questionnaire that can be found on the BFPE’s website, full details of the appeal process can also be found on there. Once all your paperwork is submitted a hearing will be scheduled so the board can review your case.

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