Topic:
CRIMINAL RECORDS; FELONIES; MENTAL HEALTH; GUN CONTROL; PERMITS; ALIENS; FIREARMS; JUVENILES;
Location:
WEAPONS - GUN CONTROL;

OLR Research Report


May 21, 2007

 

2007-R-0369

(Revised)

SUMMARY OF STATE GUN LAWS

 

By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You asked for a summary of Connecticut gun laws. (The information in this report has been updated by OLR Report 2013-R-0001. Please see that report. )

SUMMARY

The Connecticut Constitution (Article First, 15) gives every citizen the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. But state law regulates firearm sales, use, and possession.

For regulatory purposes, the law classifies “firearms” into four groups: handguns (pistols and revolvers), long guns (rifles and shotguns), assault weapons, and machine guns. The degree of regulation depends on the type of firearm and, in some cases, the type of transaction (i. e. , dealer sales as opposed to secondary or nondealer sales).

With minor exceptions, (1) anyone buying or otherwise acquiring a handgun in Connecticut, whether from a licensed gun dealer or an unlicensed person, must have an eligibility certificate or a permit to sell or carry handguns, and (2) anyone carrying a handgun (except in one's home or business) must have a permit to carry handguns. The credentials allow unlimited gun purchases. No permit or certificate is required to possess handguns in one's home or business.

Permit and certificate applicants must pass state and national criminal history record checks and meet other criteria in law, including, in the case of a carry permit, being deemed suitable to get a permit. Ineligible applicants include convicted felons, illegal aliens, and anyone (1) under age 21; (2) under a court protective or restraining order for using, attempting, or threatening to use force against someone; or (3) discharged into the community in the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect.

No permit or certificate is required to buy, possess, or carry long guns. But people cannot possess them, if they (1) were ever convicted of a felony or serious juvenile offense, (2) cannot legally possess firearms under federal law because they have been adjudicated as “mental defectives” or have been committed to a mental institution, or (3) know they are under a firearms seizure or restraining or protective order for using or threatening to use violence against someone else. State law sets no minimum age for possessing long guns.

Assault weapons are illegal. People cannot legally buy them or (with one minor exception) bring them into Connecticut. But people who owned assault weapons before October 1, 1993 and registered them with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) before October 1, 1994 can keep them, and dispose of them, under prescribed circumstances.

Machine guns must be registered with DPS within 24 hours after a person acquires them and annually thereafter.

The law regulates (1) handgun sales and transfers by dealers and nondealers and (2) long gun sales and transfers by dealers. It does not regulate secondary sales or transfers of long guns (i. e, nondealer transactions) except to a limited extent at gun shows. Among other things, the law prohibits regulated persons from selling or transferring a covered firearm unless they get a firearm transfer authorization number from DPS, which must conduct a national instant criminal history record check on the buyer to determine if he or she can legally possess firearms.

The law, with exceptions, prohibits carrying (1) firearms on school property, (2) firearms on Connecticut General Assembly property, (3) loaded handguns in a vehicle, and (4) handguns where barred by law or a property owner.

The law imposes criminal penalties on people who (1) store loaded firearms in a way that gives a minor under age 16 unauthorized access to them and (2) transfer handguns to minors under age 21, except as authorized at firing or shooting ranges.

Under limited circumstances and following specified procedures, law enforcement officials may get warrants and seize firearms from anyone posing an imminent risk of harming himself or someone else and a court may order the firearms held for up to one year.

BUYING HANDGUNS—PERMIT OR ELIGIBILITY CERTIFICATE REQUIRED

With the exception of federal marshals and parole and peace officers, anyone buying or otherwise acquiring a handgun (except an antique) in Connecticut must be a resident and present a valid gun dealer's permit, handgun eligibility certificate, or handgun permit (CGS 29-33(b)). (The residency requirement is a federal requirement (18 USC 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(b)(3), 27 CFR 478. 29 and 478. 30. )

The dealer's permit is a local permit issued by police chiefs (or borough wardens or first selectmen) and allows federally licensed firearm dealers to sell handguns; the eligibility certificate is issued by DPS and allows an individual to get handguns and keep them at his or her home or business place; and the gun permit is issued by DPS and allows the permittee to carry handguns statewide (CGS 29-33b).

CARRYING HANDGUNS—PERMIT REQUIRED

With minor exceptions, state law bars anyone from carrying handguns (except antique handguns) either concealed or openly without a gun permit in Connecticut, except in one's home or business. The permittee must carry the permit when carrying a handgun (CGS 29-35(a)). Carrying a handgun without a permit is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $ 1,000, with a one-year mandatory minimum sentence in the absence of mitigating circumstances. Any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited (CGS 29-37(b)). A permittee who does not carry the permit on his person when carrying handguns commits an infraction and must pay a $ 35 fine (CGS 29-37(c)).

The law exempts Connecticut parole and peace officers; other states' parole or peace officers on official business; federal marshals and law enforcement officers; U. S. Armed Forces members on, or going to or from, duty; and members of a military organization on parade or going to or from a place of assembly. It also exempts anyone carrying a handgun (1) in its original package from the point of purchase to his or her home or business place, (2) as merchandise, (3) for repair or when moving

household goods, and (4) to or from a testing range at a firearm permit-issuing authority's request, or (5) to a competition or exhibit under an out-of-state permit (CGS 29-35).

The fee for an initial permit to carry handguns is $ 70, plus sufficient funds to pay the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the national criminal history record checks. The renewal fee is $ 35 (CGS 29-30). The permit is valid for five years.

WHO CANNOT LEGALLY POSSESS, CARRY, OR GET CREDENTIALS FOR HANDGUNS UNDER STATE LAW

Anyone who wants to possess or carry handguns or get an eligibility certificate or permit to carry them in Connecticut must complete a DPS-approved handgun safety and use course, and undergo state and national criminal history record checks. With regard to the permit, the local official (who issues temporary permits to permit applicants) must consider if the applicant (1) wants the firearm for lawful purposes and (2) is a suitable person to get a permit. The law does not define suitability, which is left to the official's discretion (CGS 29-28(b).

The following people cannot possess handguns or get the credentials—illegal aliens and anyone:

1. discharged from custody in the preceding 20 years after a finding of not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect;

2. confined by the probate court to a mental hospital in the 12 months before applying for a permit or certificate;

3. convicted of a serious juvenile offense;

4. subject to a firearm seizure order issued after notice and a hearing;

5. prohibited under federal law from possessing or shipping firearms because they were adjudicated as mental defectives or committed to a mental institution (except in cases where the Treasury Department grants relief from this disability);

6. under a protective or restraining order for using or threatening to use force and in the case of possession, he or she knows about the order and if the order was issued in-state, he or she was notified and given a hearing opportunity; or

7. convicted of any felony or specified misdemeanors (CGS 29-28, 29-36f and 53a-217c).

Disqualifying misdemeanors are:

1. criminally negligent homicide (excluding deaths caused by motor vehicles) (CGS 53a-58);

2. third-degree assault (CGS 53a-61);

3. third-degree assault of a blind, elderly, pregnant, or mentally retarded person (CGS 53a-61a);

4. second-degree threatening (CGS 53a-62);

5. first-degree reckless endangerment (CGS 53a-63);

6. second-degree unlawful restraint (CGS 53a-96);

7. first-degree riot (CGS 53a-175);

8. second-degree riot (CGS 53a-176);

9. inciting to riot (CGS 53a-178);

10. second-degree stalking (CGS 53a-181d); and

11. first offense involving possession of (a) controlled or hallucinogenic substances (other than a narcotic substance or marijuana) or (b) less than four ounces of a cannabis-type substance (CGS 21a-279(c)).

Minors and Handgun Possession

State law does not set a minimum age requirement for possessing handguns. But the law (with one minor exception) prohibits transferring a handgun to anyone under age 21 (CGS 29-34(b)). And it requires that an applicant for an eligibility certificate or gun permit be at least age 21 (CGS 29-28 and 29-36f). (Federal law prohibits federal firearms licensees (FFLs) from transferring handguns to anyone under age 21. It,

with exceptions, prohibits nondealer transfers to, and possession by, people under age 18. But the state's 21-year age requirement for transfers supersedes this federal provision. )

Criminal Penalties

Illegal possession of a handgun is a class D felony (see Table on Penalties) (CGS 53a-217c).

WHO CANNOT LEGALLY POSSESS LONG GUNS UNDER STATE LAW

It is illegal for a person to possess a long gun if he or she:

1. has ever been convicted of a felony;

2. has ever been convicted of a serious juvenile offense;

3. knows that he or she is subject to a restraining or protective order, in a case involving the use, threatened, or attempted use of force (after notice and a hearing opportunity, for in-state orders);

4. knows that he or she is subject to a firearms seizure order, after notice and a hearing opportunity; or

5. is prohibited from transporting or possessing firearms under federal law (because he or she has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution, except in cases where the Treasury Department grants relief from the disability).

State law sets no minimum age for possessing long guns. A junior firearms hunting license may be issued to a child between ages 12 and 16 (CGS 26-27a). (Federal law prohibits FFLs from selling or transferring long guns to people under age 18. But it does not address sales or transfers by nondealers or possession by minors (18 USC 922(b) and 27 CFR 478. 99(b)(1)).

Illegal possession of a long gun is a class D felony with a two-year mandatory minimum prison term (CGS 53a-217(b)).

ASSAULT WEAPONS

By law, it is illegal for anyone to (1) possess assault weapons, unless he or she possessed the weapon before October 1, 1993, registered it with DPS before October 1, 1994, and received a DPS certificate of

possession for it; or (2) sell, transfer, distribute, or transport assault weapons (CGS 53-202b). (The definition of assault weapons is highly technical; see CGS 53-202a. )

The law (1) exempts from the assault weapon ban law enforcement officers, correction officials, and military and naval personnel discharging their official duties and (2) allows estate executors and administrators to possess registered estate weapons under probate court orders (CGS 53-202c). Also, anyone, except a member of the military, who moves into Connecticut with a lawful assault weapon has 90 days to (1) render it permanently inoperable, (2) sell it to a licensed gun dealer, or (3) take it out of state. Members of the military who move to Connecticut, after October 1, 1994, have 90 days to get a certificate of possession for any legally possessed assault weapon (CGS 53-202d(b)).

Criminal Penalties

Illegal possession of an assault weapon is a class D felony, with a mandatory minimum one-year prison term. A first-time violation is a class A misdemeanor if the violator can prove that he or she possessed the weapon before October 1, 1993 and is otherwise in compliance with the law (CGS 53-202c).

Illegally transferring or carrying an assault weapon is a class C felony, with a two-year mandatory minimum or, in the case of transfers to people under age 18, an additional six-year mandatory minimum (CGS 53-202b).

Keeping Registered Assault Weapons

A person may possess a lawfully registered assault weapon only:

1. at his or her home, business place, or other property he or she owns;

2. on someone else's property with the owner's express permission;

3. at certain target ranges or shooting clubs;

4. while attending a firearms exhibition, display, or educational project sponsored, conducted, or approved by a law enforcement agency or a national or state-recognized entity that fosters proficiency in, or promotes, firearm proficiency or education; or

5. while transporting the weapon between any of the above places or to a licensed firearm dealer for servicing or repair (CGS 53-202d(d)).

Transporting Assault Weapons

When being transported, assault weapons must be unloaded and, if transported in a vehicle, kept in the trunk or in a case inaccessible to the vehicle operator or passengers. A violation carries a fine of up to $ 500, imprisonment for up to three years, or both (CGS 53-202f).

Disposing of Assault Weapons

Anyone wanting to dispose of a registered assault weapon may transfer it to a licensed firearm dealer or, after making arrangements to relinquish it, a police department or DPS, following guidelines for transporting such weapons (CGS 53-202d(b) and 53-202e).

Reports of Thefts of Assault Weapons

Anyone whose lawfully possessed assault weapon is stolen must file a police report within 72 hours of the time he or she discovered or should have discovered the theft (CGS 53-202g). No penalty is specified for violations, and there is no requirement to report lost weapons.

MACHINE GUNS, SAWED-OFF SHOTGUNS, AND SILENCERS

With some exceptions, anyone who owns a machine gun (1) must register it with DPS within 24 hours of acquiring it and annually thereafter on July 1 (CGS 53-202(g)). Using a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose (as defined in law) carries a five- to 10-year prison term, a fine of up to $ 1,000, or both. There is a presumption that the possession of a machine gun is for an offensive purpose if, among other things, it is found on premises not owned or rented as a residence or business place.

Anyone who possesses or uses a machine gun while committing a violent crime is subject to imprisonment for 10 to 20 years.

The restrictions on possession do not apply to machine guns (1) manufactured for sale or transfer to the U. S. government, states, territories, or political subdivisions; (2) rendered inoperable by welding critical functioning parts; or (3) acquired, transferred, or possessed under the National Firearms Act, provided they are registered (CGS 53-202(h)).

It is illegal to own or possess (1) sawed-off shotguns, defined as any shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches or (2) silencers designed to muffle a firearm's discharge noise. A violation is a class D felony (CGS 53a-211). The ban does not apply to anyone otherwise permitted by state or federal law to own them. According to the State Police, a person may legally possess sawed-off shotguns and silencers, under federal law, if they obtain a federal tax stamp to possess them.

RESTRICTION ON GUN TRANSFERS/TRANSFER PROCEDURES

Handgun Sales/Transfers

All handgun sales and transfers, whether by licensed dealers or unlicensed persons, must conform to specified procedures, except those among federal firearms licensees, made to law enforcement officials, or involving antique handguns (CGS 29-33).

Under the procedures, buyers must complete a DPS firearms purchase application (currently DPS-67-C). When they get the handgun, they must sign a receipt (currently DPS-3-C) listing (1) their name, address, and occupation (2) the make, model, serial number, and caliber of the gun, (3) the transfer date and authorization number for the transfer, and (4) the permit or eligibility certificate number (CGS 29-33e). DPS must conduct a national instant criminal background check on applicants and either bar the transaction or issue an authorization number for it. People selling or otherwise transferring handguns must:

1. ensure that they know the people buying the guns or get appropriate identification from them,

2. ensure that handguns are unloaded when sold and equipped with a reusable trigger lock accessible by key or electronic or mechanical accessory specific to the device to prevent unauthorized removal (except for wholesale transactions),

3. document the transactions with State Police and appropriate local officials within 48 hours, and

4. keep the transaction records for inspection by law enforcement officials (application for at least 20 years and receipt for at least five years).

Long Gun Sales and Transfer Procedures

Sales by Licensees. With some exceptions, when gun dealers sell or transfer long guns, they must conform to procedures, the essential elements of which are similar to those governing handgun transfers. The law prohibits dealers from transferring long guns until two weeks after an application. It also requires DPS to conduct a national instant criminal background check on applicants (CGS 29-37a). But the licensee does not have to know the buyer or require that he or she present valid identification.

The law exempts from the waiting period: (1) federal marshals, parole officers, and peace officers; (2) anyone with a valid hunting license, eligibility certificate, or permit to carry handguns; (3) any member of the U. S. Armed Forces; and (4) anyone buying antique firearms (CGS 29-37a(b)). It also exempts these people and transactions from provisions requiring (1) buyers to sign a receipt for the firearm and provide certain information on themselves and the firearm and (2) dealers to send this documentation to state and local police officials.

Sales by Nonlicensees. Secondary long gun transfers (i. e, sales involving non-licensed people) are not regulated, except for the limited gun show regulation (described below). This means, among other things, that a buyer does not have to undergo criminal history record checks, and a seller does not have to (1) know the buyer, (2) verify if the buyer can legally possess firearms, or (3) document transactions with DPS. (DPS recommends that sellers document transactions nonetheless. ) Under federal law, a seller cannot transfer any firearm to anyone knowing that the person cannot legally possess firearms (18 USC 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d) 27 CFR 478. 29 and 478. 30).

At least 30 days before a gun show, the organizer or other responsible party must notify the police chief, warden, or first selectman of the jurisdiction in which the show is to take place of the date, time, duration, and location of the show (CGS 29-37g(b)). People selling or otherwise transferring guns at such shows must ask DPS to conduct national criminal history record checks on buyers and provide an authorization number for each transaction (CGS 29-37g(c)).

Violations

The law prohibits firearm transfers (1) to ineligible people or (2) in violation of its procedures. It specifically prohibits transferring handguns to anyone who (1) cannot legally possess them under state law or (2) does not have a permit to carry handguns, a firearm dealer's permit, or an eligibility certificate (CGS 29-33(a) and (b)). Transferring a handgun in violation of the procedures or to an ineligible person is a class D felony. But it is a class B felony if the person transferring the firearm knows that

it is stolen or that the manufacturer's number or serial number has been removed, defaced, altered, or obliterated (CGS 29-33(i)). The court may, in some circumstances, suspend prosecution for a first minor violation.

The law contains no specific penalty for transferring long guns to ineligible persons or violating the transfer procedures (CGS 29-37a).

RESTRICTIONS ON CARRYING AND TRANSPORTING FIREARMS

In Public Buildings

The law, with minor exceptions, bars people from carrying firearms in any building (1) where either House of the General Assembly is located; (2) in which the office of any legislator or legislative officer, employee, or committee is located; or (3) where a legislative committee is holding a meeting. The law exempts police officers, military personnel on official duty, and veterans serving as honor guards (CGS 2-1e(c)).

Interference with the legislative process is a class D felony.

In Public

The permit to carry handguns allows people to carry them openly or concealed, but mature judgment, says the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners, dictates that (1) “every effort should be made to ensure that no gun is exposed to view or carried in any manner that would tend to alarm people who see it. . . [and] (2) no handgun should be carried unless carrying the gun at the time and place involved is prudent and proper in the circumstances.

For example, according to the board, handguns should not be carried:

1. into a bar or other place where alcohol is being consumed;

2. in any situation involving stress such as an argument;

3. after consuming alcohol or any drugs other than those legally prescribed; or

4. in any building, residential or commercial, whose owner prohibits handguns (http: //www. ct. gov/bfpe/cwp/view. asp?a=1252&q=254186).

Motor Vehicles

By law, when handguns are being transported in a motor vehicle, they must be unloaded and kept (1) in a place not readily or directly accessible from the passenger compartment or (2) in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console (CGS 29-35). A violation carries a penalty of one to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $ 1,000, or both, with a mandatory minimum one-year sentence in the absence of mitigating circumstances (CGS 29-37).

When long guns are being transported in a vehicle or snowmobile, they must be unloaded. A violation carries a fine of $ 10 to $ 100, imprisonment for up to 30 days or both (CGS 53-205).

On School Property and School-Sponsored Events

It is illegal, with some exceptions, to possess firearms on any elementary or secondary school property or at any school-sponsored event, if the person knows that he or she is not licensed or privileged to possess such firearms. A violation is a class D felony. The law does not apply to the otherwise lawful possession by:

1. anyone using a firearm as part of an approved school program;

2. anyone who has an agreement with the school allowing the firearm;

3. peace officers functioning in their official capacity; and

4. anyone with an unloaded firearm crossing school property to hunt, provided entry is allowed (CGS 53a-217b).

Other Places where Firearms are Prohibited

People are barred from possessing or carrying handguns on any premises where prohibited by law or by the person who owns or exercises control over the premises (CGS 29-28(e)).

A violation carries a fine of up to $ 500, imprisonment for up to three years, or both, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited (CGS 29-37).

CHILD PROTECTION

Safe Storage

The law imposes criminal penalties on people who store loaded firearms on their premises if they know or reasonably should know that a minor (person under age 16) is likely to gain access to them without the minor's parent's or guardian's permission (CGS 29-37i). A person is not criminally liable if the firearm is locked up or in a location that a reasonable person considers to be secure, or carries it on his or her person or close enough so that he or she can readily retrieve it.

A person is criminally negligent if the violation of these provisions results in a minor using the firearm to injure or kill himself or someone else (CGS 53a-217a). A violator is strictly liable for damages if a minor obtains the unlawfully stored firearm and causes the injury or death of anyone (CGS 52-571g). The provisions do not apply if the minor obtains the firearm by unlawful entry.

Handgun Trigger Locks

The law requires retail firearm dealers to provide handgun buyers with a reusable trigger lock, gun lock, or other appropriate locking device for the firearm at the time of sale. They must give buyers the following written warning in block letters at least one inch high:

UNLAWFUL STORAGE OF A LOADED FIREARM MAY RESULT IN IMPRISONMENT OR FINE

They must also conspicuously post the warning in block letters at least three inches high at each service counter. Each violation carries a fine of up to $ 500 (CGS 29-33(d), 29-37b).

Handgun Transfers to Minors

The law bars transfer of handguns to people under age 21, except for temporary transfers at a target shooting or firing range, provided use is under the immediate supervision of a person eligible to possess handguns. A violation is a class D felony, with a one-year mandatory minimum sentence, plus any handguns found in the violator's possession must be forfeited (CGS 29-34(b)).

DEALER REGULATIONS

Federal law requires that firearm dealers have a federal firearms license. State law requires anyone who sells 10 or more handguns in a calendar year or is a federally licensed firearm dealer to have a local permit to sell handguns as well. This permit is issued by the police chief or, where there is no police chief, by the borough warden or first selectman (CGS 29-28(a)). The official may issue the permit only if the applicant holds a valid eligibility certificate or carry permit and submits documentation showing that the premises comply with local zoning requirements.

Business organizations that sell firearms at retail must have burglar alarms installed on their premises where 10 or more firearms are stored or kept for sale (CGS 29-37d).

Any retail business that sells firearms but not as a principal part of its business may not employ people to sell firearms in a retail store unless the employees:

1. are at least age 18;

2. have submitted to state and national criminal history record checks, which indicate they have not been convicted of a felony or any violation that would make them ineligible for a handgun eligibility certificate; and

3. have successfully completed a DPS-approved course or test in firearm safety and statutory procedures relating to the sale of firearms (CGS 29-37f).

An employer who violates this provision is subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 10,000 per day for each violation.

Firearm dealers may not sell handguns anywhere except in the room, store, or other place described in the permit to sell handguns, and they must display the permit in the place identified in the permit (CGS 29-31).

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Gun Seizure from People Posing Harm

By law, police, under limited circumstances and following specified procedures, may get warrants and seize firearms from anyone posing an imminent risk of harming himself or someone else (CGS 29-38c). Police can seek the warrant only after (1) conducting an independent investigation to establish probable cause and (2) determining that no reasonable alternative exists to avert the risk of harm. A judge must hold a hearing within 14 days after the seizure and decide whether to return the firearms or order them held for up to one year (see OLR Report 2006-R-0330. HTM for a discussion of seizures under this law).

Ballistic Fingerprinting

The law requires DPS to establish a firearms evidence databank. The databank is a computer-based system that scans test fires from handguns and stores the test fire images so they can be retrieved and compared to other test fire images and to other evidence in criminal investigations (CGS 29-7h(a)(1), (5)).

Disclosure of Certain Gun Information

The names and addresses of gun permit and eligibility certificate holders are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. They are disclosable only to law enforcement officials performing their duties and, to the extent necessary, to handgun transferors requesting information on the validity of a permit or certificate (CGS 29-28(d)).

Provisions Applying to Nonresidents

Out-of-state residents with a valid concealed gun permit from another state may apply directly to the public safety commissioner for a permit to carry handguns in Connecticut (CGS 29-28(f)).

The law allows out-of-state residents to transport handguns without a permit through Connecticut for lawful purposes in accordance with federal law if they (1) are not otherwise prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing guns and (2) are transporting them between states where they can legally possess and carry them. They cannot use, carry, sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer the guns while in the state.

The law also allows out-of-state residents permitted to possess and carry handguns in their own state to transport handguns in Connecticut without a Connecticut permit when (1) at or participating in competitions or attending meetings or exhibitions of organized gun collectors, (2) taking the firearms for repairs, or (3) taking part in or during formal handgun training at a locally approved or permitted firing range or training facility.

If being transported in a vehicle, the firearms must be kept unloaded and not readily or directly accessible from the passenger compartment of a vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearms must be kept in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console (CGS 29-38d and 29-35).

OFFENSES AND PENALTIES

Classification

Table I shows firearm offenses and penalties. Table 2 shows the penalties for various classes of offenses. The offenses are classified as follows:

1. transfer,

2. carrying,

3. use,

4. possession,

5. child endangerment,

6. assault weapon,

7. machine gun,

8. “straw man,”

9. hunting, and

10. miscellaneous.

Some offenses are included in more than one category. For example, an offense involving the use of an assault weapon is included in both the “firearm use” category and “assault weapons” category.

Class A, B, and C Felonies and Mandatory Sentences

CGS 53-202j imposes a mandatory minimum eight-year sentence on anyone who uses, threatens to use, displays, or purports to have an assault weapon while committing a class A, B, or C felony. CGS 53-202k imposes a mandatory, minimum five-year sentence on anyone who uses, threatens to use, displays, or purports to have a firearm other than an assault weapon while committing a class A, B, or C felony. In both cases, the sentence is in addition and consecutive to any imprisonment for the felony. The offenses on Table 1 subject to the additional sentence are marked with an asterisk.

Persistent Offenders

CGS 53a-40 authorizes the court to impose, under the persistent dangerous felony offender law, a prison term of up to 40 years, based on one previous violent felony conviction, and up to life, based on two such previous convictions. (By law, a sentence of life imprisonment means a definite sentence of 60 years. ) The law requires a court to impose an enhanced sentence if it determines the public interest would best be served by the sentence. Among the firearm offenses subject to the persistent dangerous felony provision are:

1. first- and second- degree kidnapping with a firearm,

2. first- and second-degree manslaughter with a firearm, and

3. third-degree sexual assault with a firearm.

Table 1: Firearm Offenses and Penalties

Offense

Penalty

Statutory Cite

FIREARM TRANSFER OFFENSES

Transfer handgun to person convicted of criminally negligent homicide

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 3rd degree assault

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 3rd degree assault of blind, elderly, pregnant, or mentally retarded person

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 2nd degree threatening

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 1st degree reckless endangerment

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 2nd degree unlawful restraint

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 1st degree riot

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 2nd degree riot

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of inciting to riot

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of 2nd degree stalking

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to person convicted of possession of certain controlled substances

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to illegal aliens

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to anyone convicted of a serious juvenile offense

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to someone subject to a firearm seizure order

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

FIREARM TRANSFER OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Transfer handgun to anyone who cannot legally possess guns under specified federal law

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to anyone under a protective or restraining order for using force

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to anyone found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect for 20 years after release

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to anyone confined by the court to a mental hospital in the 12 months before

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to any other ineligible person

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

CGS 29-33(a), 29-33i

Transfer handgun to ineligible person knowing that it is stolen or its serial or other identifying number defaced

Class B felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-33(i)

Transfer handgun to anyone under age 21 (except temporarily at gun range)

Class D felony, with one-year mandatory minimum prison term, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-34(b)

Transfer handgun in violation of procedures

Class D felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-33(a), 29-33(i)

Transfer handgun in violation of procedures knowing that it is stolen or the manufacturer's number or other identification mark has been altered

Class B felony, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-33(a), 29-22(i)

Sell handguns at retail to person who does not have appropriate identification; fail to display gun dealer permit and keep record book

Up to $ 500 fine, imprisonment for up to three years, or both, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-31, 29-37

Sell handgun, other than at wholesale, without trigger lock

Class D felony (but Class B felony if person knows the gun was stolen or its identification mark defaced) and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-33(d) and (i) (see 29-37b immediately below)*

FIREARM TRANSFER OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Sell handgun at retail without trigger lock and safety warning

At least $ 500 for each violation

29-37b (see 29-33 immediately above)*

Sell handgun at retail without dealer permit

Up to $ 500 fine, up to three years imprisonment, or both, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-28, 29-37

Sell long gun at retail in violation of procedures

No penalty specified

29-37a

Employ unauthorized person to sell firearms in certain retail establishments

Civil penalty of up to $ 10,000 per day for each violation

29-37f

Sell facsimile firearm

Class B misdemeanor

53-206c

Provide any firearm knowing that recipient intends to use it illegally

Fine and imprisonment as if provider was principal offender

53a-8

Sell armor piercing and incendiary . 50 caliber ammunition

Class A misdemeanor (first violation)

Class D felony (subsequent violation)

53-202l

Use false information to get any firearm

Class D felony, and any firearm found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-37e, 29-34(a)

CARRYING OFFENSES

Carry handgun without gun permit

Up to $ 1,000 fine, up to 5 years, or both; one-year mandatory minimum in the absence of mitigating circumstances, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-35(a), 29-37

Carry handgun without gun permit on one's person

Infraction ($ 35 fine)

29-35(b), 29-37

Knowingly carry “unpermitted” handgun or unregistered machine gun in vehicle

Up to $ 1,000 fine, up to five years imprisonment, or both

29-38

Carry any firearm on security guard duty without special DPS gun permit

$ 75 per offense

29-161z

Carry loaded handgun in vehicle

Up to $ 1,000 fine, up to five years imprisonment, or both, with a one-year mandatory minimum in the absence of mitigating circumstances, and any handgun found in the violator's possession must be forfeited

29-35, 29-37

CARRYING OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Carry loaded shotgun, rifle, or muzzleloader in vehicle or snowmobile

Fine of $ 10 to $ 100, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both

53-205

Carry any firearm on school property knowing one is not licensed or authorized to do so

Class D felony

53a-217b

Carry any loaded firearm while intoxicated

Class B misdemeanor

53-206d(a)

Carry facsimile of firearm in threatening manner or brandish one in peace officer's presence

Class B misdemeanor

53-206c

FIREARM USE OFFENSES*

1st degree kidnapping with firearm

Class A felony with one-year mandatory minimum*

53a-92a

2nd degree kidnapping with firearm

Class B felony with three-year mandatory minimum*

53a-94a

1st degree manslaughter with firearm

Class B felony with five-year mandatory minimum*

(CGS 53a-35a allows sentence of up to 40 years)

53a-55a

2nd degree manslaughter with firearm

Class C felony with one-year mandatory minimum*

53a-56a

1st degree aggravated sexual assault with deadly weapon

Class B or A felony,* depending on the victim's age (mandatory minimum five years to 20 years depending on certain factors) plus at least five years parole*

53a-70a

3rd degree sexual assault with firearm

Class C* or B* felony, depending on victim's age (two-year mandatory minimum, plus period of special parole, which together with imprisonment cannot be less than 10 years)

53a-72b

1st degree robbery with firearm

Class B felony with five-year mandatory minimum*

53a-134

2nd degree robbery with deadly weapon

Class C felony*

53a-135

1st degree burglary with deadly weapon

Class B felony with five-year mandatory minimum*

53a-101

2nd degree burglary with a firearm

Class C felony with one-year mandatory minimum*

53a-102a

3rd degree burglary with firearm

Class D felony with one-year mandatory minimum

53a-103a

FIREARM USE OFFENSES: CONTINUED

1st degree assault with deadly weapon

Class B felony with five-year mandatory minimum or 10-year mandatory minimum if victim is under age 10 or a witness*

53a-59

2nd degree assault with firearm

Class D felony with one-year mandatory minimum

53a-60a

2nd degree assault with deadly weapon

Class D felony

53a-60

2nd degree assault with firearm of elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or mentally retarded person

Class D felony, with three-year mandatory minimum

53a-60c

3rd degree assault with deadly weapon (criminal negligence)

Class A misdemeanor with a mandatory one-year prison term

53a-61

Criminal use of a firearm

Class D felony, five –year mandatory minimum

53a-216

Commit A, B, or C felony armed, or purporting to be armed, with firearm other than assault weapon

Five-year mandatory minimum in addition to the sentence for the felony

53-202k

Use machine gun in violent crime

10 to 20 years imprisonment (in addition to sentence for the crime)

53-202(b)

Use machine gun for offensive or aggressive purpose

Five to 10 years imprisonment, up to $ 1,000 fine, or both (in addition to sentence for the crime)

53-202(c)

Display, use, or threaten to use assault weapon while committing felony

Eight-year minimum prison term, plus any prison term imposed for the felony

53-202j

Unlawful discharge of firearm

Fine up to $ 250, imprisonment up to three months, or both

53-203

Discharge firearm from public highway

Fine of up to $ 100

53-204

Brandish facsimile of firearm in threatening manner

Class B misdemeanor

53-206c

Sell facsimile firearm or brandish one in peace officer's presence

Class B misdemeanor

53-206c

FIREARM POSSESSION OFFENSES

Criminal possession of firearm, other than handgun

Class D felony, two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Bring any firearm without authorization into correctional institution

Class D felony

53a-174

Possess or carry any firearm within correctional institution while incarcerated

Class B felony

53a-174a

FIREARM POSSESSION OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Possess any firearm on elementary or high school property or at school-sponsored activities knowing that one is not authorized to do so

Class D felony

53a-217b

Possess sawed-off shotgun or silencer

Class D felony

53a-211

Possess any firearm in legislative chamber (unless exempt) or related areas (Interfere with legislative process)

Class D felony

2-1e(c)

Possess handgun after conviction for criminally negligent homicide

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 3rd degree assault

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 3rd degree assault of blind, elderly, pregnant, or mentally retarded person

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 2nd degree threatening

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun conviction for 1st degree reckless endangerment

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 2nd degree unlawful restraint

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 1st degree riot

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 2nd degree riot

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for inciting to riot

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for 2nd degree stalking

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for possessing certain controlled substances

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun as illegal alien

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after conviction for a serious juvenile offense

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun while subject to a firearm seizure order

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun while ineligible to possess guns under federal law

Class D felony

53a-217c

FIREARM POSSESSION OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Possess handgun while under a protective or restraining order for using force

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect for 20 years after release

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess handgun after being confined by the court to a mental hospital in the previous 12 months by probate court

Class D felony

53a-217c

Possess firearm, other than handgun, after felony conviction

Class D felony, with two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Possess firearm, other than handgun, after conviction for a serious juvenile offense

Class D felony, with two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Possess firearm, other than handgun, knowing that one is the subject of a state or foreign court restraining or protective order in a case involving use or threatened use of force

Class D felony, with two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Possess firearm, other than handgun, knowing that one is subject to a firearms seizure order after hearing opportunity

Class D felony, with two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Possess firearm, other than a handgun, while ineligible to possess or transport firearms under federal law because one has been adjudicated “mentally defective” or committed to a mental institution

Class D felony, with two-year mandatory minimum

53a-217

Possess machine gun while committing or attempting to commit violent crime

10 to 20 years imprisonment (in addition to sentence for the crime)

53-202(b)

Possess machine gun for offensive or aggressive purpose

Five to 10 years imprisonment, up to $ 1,000 fine, or both (in addition to sentence for the crime)

53-202(c)

Commit class A, B, or C felony with assault weapon

Eight-year mandatory minimum in addition to the sentence for the felony

53-202j

CHILD ENDANGERMENT OFFENSES

Criminally negligent storage (storing or keeping any loaded firearm where a minor under age 16 can get it and use it to injure or kill himself or someone else)

Class D felony, plus strict liability for damages

29-37i, 53a-217a

52-571g.

Failure to provide handgun trigger lock at retail and warning to buyer

Up to $ 500 fine for each violation

29-37b

Transfer handgun to person under age 21

Class D felony, one-year mandatory minimum

29-34

Possess any firearm on school property knowing one is not authorized to do so

Class D felony

53a-217b

Employ minor under age 18 or other unauthorized person to sell handguns in retail store where the principal business is the sale of goods other than firearms

Up to $ 10,000 per day for each violation

29-37f

ASSAULT WEAPON OFFENSES

Illegally sell or otherwise transfer assault weapon

Class C felony, two-year mandatory minimum and additional six-year mandatory minimum for providing the weapon to minor under age 18

53-202b

Illegally possess assault weapon

Class D felony, with one-year mandatory minimum except that a first violation is a class A misdemeanor if the person presents proof that he or she lawfully possessed the assault weapon before October 1, 1993 is otherwise in compliance

53-202c

Commit class A, B, or C felony with assault weapon

Eight-year mandatory minimum in addition to the sentence for the felony

53-202j

MACHINE GUN OFFENSES

Possess machine gun while committing or attempting to commit violent crime

10 to 20 years imprisonment

(in addition to the sentence for the crime)

53-202(b)

Possess machine gun for offensive or aggressive purpose

Five to 10 years imprisonment, up to $ 1,000 fine, or both (in addition to the sentence for the crime)

53-202(c)

MACHINE GUN OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Failure to register machine gun

Five to 10 years imprisonment, up to $ 1,000 fine, or both

53-202(g)

Manufacturer's failure to keep register of machine guns or allow police officer inspection

Fine up to $ 2,000

53-202(f)

“STRAW MAN” OFFENSES

Buy firearm intending to transfer it to an ineligible person (straw man transactions)

Imprisonment for up to five years, fine of up to $ 1,000, or both, except that if person was convicted of felony in the previous five years, it is a class D felony

29-37j

Solicit firearm through straw man

Class B misdemeanor (one firearm)

Class A misdemeanor (more than one firearm and each violation is separate offense)

Class D felony if the violator was convicted of a felony within the five years before the violation

29-37j

HUNTING OFFENSES

Use silencer on firearm while hunting

Fine of $ 10 to $ 200, imprisonment for up to 60 days, or both

26-75, 26-81

Jacklight deer

Fine of $ 200 to $ 500, imprisonment of 30 days to six months, or both, plus forfeiture of firearm and increased penalties for subsequent offenses

26-85

Hunt in state wildlife refuge

Up to $ 100 fine

26-107

Hunt from public highway

Up to $ 100 fine

53-204

Hunting while intoxicated

Class A misdemeanor

53-206d(b)

MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES

Teach anyone to use or make firearms to use in civil disorder or assemble with people to do so

Class C felony

53-206b

Steal firearm

Class D felony

53a-212

Fail to surrender firearm after event that makes one ineligible to possess them

Class D felony (in the case of long guns two-years mandatory minimum)

29-36k, 53a-217, 53a-217c

Failure to surrender a revoked eligibility certificate within five days of revocation

Class C misdemeanor

29-36i

MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES: CONTINUED

Failure to surrender revoked gun permit within five days of written notification

Class C misdemeanor

29-32

Alter, remove, or deface firearm serial number

Up to $ 1,000 fine, up to five years imprisonment, or both

29-36(b)

*All of the use offenses, classified as A, B, or C felonies carry an additional five-year mandatory minimum prison term except those involving an assault weapon, which carry an eight-year mandatory minimum.

Table 2: Table on Penalties

Classification

Imprisonment/Fine

Capital felony—

execution or life

Class A felony (murder)

25 to 60 years up to $ 20,000

Class A felony

10 to 25 years up to 20,000

Class B felony

1 to 20 years up to 15,000

Class C felony

1 to 10 years up to 10,000

Class D felony

1 to 5 years up to 5,000

Class A misdemeanor

up to 1 year up to 2,000

Class B misdemeanor

up to 6 months up to 1,000

Class C misdemeanor

up to 3 months up to 500

VR: dw