The Connecticut General Assembly
OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH
February 15, 1994 94-R-0271
FROM: Veronica Rose, Research Associate
RE: Certificates of Possession for Assault Weapons
You asked us to describe the procedure for getting a certificate of possession for an assault weapon. You also want to know when one must get this certificate and how many people have obtained certificates.
A certificate of possession allows possession of an assault weapon under specified circumstances. Anyone who possessed an assault weapon before October 1, 1993 is eligible for a certificate if he applies to the Department of Public Safety by July 1, 1994. Anyone who inherits an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued is eligible for a certificate if he applies within 90 days of obtaining title to the firearm.
The law (PA 93-306) authorized the Department of Public Safety to develop, by January 1, 1994, regulations to establish procedures for applying for and issuing certificates of possession. Under emergency regulations, which were adopted in November 1993, an applicant for a certificate must complete an application form, under oath, and submit the form to the department along with a set of fingerprints, a color passport-type photograph, and either proof that he lawfully possessed the firearm before October 1, 1993 or a notarized statement that he inherited it.
As of February 14, 1994, neither the application forms nor the certificates were ready. Consequently, no certificate has been issued. The department is recording the names and addresses of applicants for certificates and will contact them when the forms and certificates are available.
We have attached a copy of the regulations.
CERTIFICATES OF POSSESSION
Under PA 93-306, anyone who lawfully possessed an assault weapon before October 1, 1993 has until July 1, 1994 to apply to the Department of Public Safety for a certificate of possession. Also, anyone who obtains an assault weapon by bequest or intestate succession is eligible for a certificate. But he must apply for it within 90 days of obtaining title to the firearm.
A certificate allows the owner of an assault weapon to possess it:
1. at his own residence, business, or property or on another person's property with permission;
2. while on the premises of (a) a target range of a public or private club or organization to practice target shooting, (b) a target range that holds a regulatory or business license for the purpose of practicing shooting at the range, or (c) a licensed shooting club;
3. while attending any exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms sponsored by, conducted under the auspices of, or approved by a law enforcement agency or a national or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in, or promotes education about, use of firearms; or
4. while transporting it between any of the places mentioned above or to a licensed dealer for servicing or repair, provided it is transported in accordance the act.
With some exceptions, the act makes it a class D felony with a mandatory, minimum one-year sentence, to possess an assault weapon. But a first violation is a class A misdemeanor if the person can prove lawful possession of the weapon before October 1, 1993 and has otherwise complied with the act's requirements for possessing an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued (Section 3).
The act authorized the Department of Public Safety to adopt regulations by January 1, 1994 to establish procedures for applying for and issuing certificates of possession. The department adopted emergency regulations in November 1993. The regulations require:
1. the department to provide an application for a certificate to anyone who requests it;
2. the applicant to complete the form under oath; and
3. the applicant to submit to the State Police Weapons Unit the completed form along with a complete set of fingerprints, a color passport-type photograph and either proof that he lawfully owned the firearm before October 1, 1993 or, if applicable, a notarized statement that he inherited the firearm. The department will accept as proof of ownership: a copy of the bill of sale, a copy of the firearm purchase application form (SP-67) or a notarized statement that the firearm was purchased before October 1, 1993 (Conn. Agencies Reg., § 29-xx-2).
The State Police must review applications for completeness and complete criminal history checks on applicants to determine if they have any felony convictions. The agency must inform applicants, in writing, if their forms are not properly completed, and, if an applicant has a felony conviction, it may not issue the certificate. If the form is properly completed and the applicant has no felony convictions, the agency must issue the certificate. The certificate is not transferable (id. at § 29-xx-3).
The agency may suspend or revoke the certificate of any certificate holder who (1) violates PA 93-306 or the regulations adopted pursuant to this act, (2) materially misrepresented anything in the application, or (3) is convicted of a felony (id. at § 29-xx-5).