OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 358

AN ACT PROHIBITING THE TRANSFER OF MACHINE GUNS TO MINORS.

SUMMARY:

This bill bars anyone from selling, giving, or transferring machine guns to people under age 16, including temporarily transferring the firearms to these minors to use in target shooting, at a firing or shooting range, or for any other purpose. The prohibition applies notwithstanding the state law authorizing the transfer, possession, and acquisition of machine guns in accordance with the National Firearms Act (NFA), provided they are duly registered with the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

A violation of the bill carries a $ 1,000 fine, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both. The same penalty applies, under existing law, to possessing or using a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

BACKGROUND

Federal Law

At the federal level, machine guns are regulated by the NFA (26 USC 5801 et seq. ) and 1968 Gun Control Act, as amended by the 1986 Firearms Owners' Protection Act (18 USC 921 et seq. ). Among other things, federal law (1) requires all machine guns, except antique firearms, not in the U. S. government's possession to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and (2) bars private individuals from transferring or acquiring machine guns except those lawfully possessed and registered before May 19, 1986.

State Law

Under Connecticut law, private citizens may own machine guns, provided the firearms are duly registered pursuant to federal and state law. Failure to register a machine gun with DPS is presumed possession for an offensive or aggressive purpose, a violation punishable by a fine of up to $ 1,000, imprisonment for five to 10 years, or both.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

37

Nay

3

(03/31/2009)

Judiciary Committee

Motion to Reconsider

Passed – Voice Vote

(04/01/2009)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

34

Nay

4

(04/01/2009)