Governor Ned Lamont is making stronger gun laws a cornerstone of his 2023 legislative plan, at least according to the list of legislative priorities his office has released over the last 10 days.
In a series of three announcements, the Lamont administration proposed around a dozen legislative ideas to tighten the state’s already strict gun laws. Most of the proposals are aimed at closing loopholes in existing laws, increasing the rules associated with firearm ownership, and either slowing or limiting the purchase of firearms.
The various proposals fall under three overarching gun-related priorities for Lamont’s office – “eliminating gun violence,” “preventing mass shootings,” and cutting down on “suicides, accidents, and domestic violence.” These proposals will be included in a package delivered to the Connecticut General Assembly in February at which point lawmakers will determine which, if any, they will include in the 2023 legislative session.
For the sake of simplicity and clarity, here is a list of every gun control proposal announced by the governor’s office this session.
Community Gun Violence
- Fund community violence intervention programs: Allocate an additional $2.5 million to the Department of Public Heath’s Office of Injury and Violence Prevention program, which will be disbursed as grants to community violence intervention programs in urban areas.
- Restricting open carry: Open carry would be “generally banned” with several exceptions not currently outlined. Carrying firearms in bars would be prohibited. The governor stated that the goal is to “prevent intimidation” during protests or at polling locations. Concealed carry would continue under the present laws, with some exceptions.
- Limiting handgun purchases: Individuals would be restricted to the purchase of just one handgun in a month. Currently, Connecticut does not have any limits on handgun purchases.
- Retroactive “ghost gun” ban: So-called “ghost guns” are already banned in the state, requiring any gun assembled since 2019 to be engraved with a serial number. The proposal would require all ghost guns assembled before or after the previous ban to be engraved.
- Assault weapons ban: Would expand the state’s long-standing assault weapons ban (enacted in 1994 and updated in 2013) to include “pre-September 1994 firearms” which were grandfathered in under the initial law; “other” weapons, which accounts for any weapon manufactured by gunmakers to skirt around existing bans, including those with a “barrel length longer than 12 inches to avoid classification as a pistol and a so-called “pistol brace” on the back to avoid classification as a rifle;” and “rimfire rifles.” The proposal would create a new registration period so current owners could keep them while also banning future sales.
- Large-capacity magazines: Connecticut law defines “large capacity magazine” to mean any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202w(a)(1)). “Large-capacity magazines” were banned in 2013. At the time, it created a “first-offense” fine of $90 for anyone in possession of a high-capacity magazine purchased after 2013, which required law enforcement to prove that the magazine was purchased after the effective date. A second offense carries a felony charge with a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. Under the governor’s new proposal, the first offense would be eliminated since “owners of large-capacity magazines obtained prior to the enactment of this 2013 law have had nearly a decade to register or dispose of those items.”
- Age restrictions: This proposal would increase the age to purchase any firearm to 21. This is already in effect for handguns but would raise the age for long guns from 18.
Suicides, accidents, and domestic violence
- 10-day waiting period: Current law includes no waiting period, providing the purchaser has the proper documentation. Would create a 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases, citing “numerous academic studies” that it cuts down on suicide and domestic violence.
- Education requirements: Would expand the training requirements for a pistol permit to four hours of classroom training and two hours of shooting practice with a 1-year deadline.
- Safe storage requirements: All firearm owners would be required to adhere to safe storage standards, not just those in a household with minors, people prohibited from owning firearms, or people likely to cause harm.
- Design safety standards: Would require that all handguns sold in the state starting January 1st, 2024 include safety features, including a “loaded chamber indicator” which would alert owners that a round remains in the chamber after a magazine has been removed, or a “magazine disconnect lockout,” which prevents a trigger being pulled if the magazine has been removed.
- Domestic violence convictions: Would automatically disqualify anyone convicted of a family violence crime from holding a state gun permit without the need for a suitability hearing.
- Carrying in a vehicle: All long guns being carried in a vehicle would be required to be unloaded.
- Trigger locks: All guns, not just handguns, would be required to be sold with a trigger lock.
February 4, 2023 @ 1:54 pm
In your article, under Mass Shootings/ Assault Weapons; it is inaccurate. The 1994 ban was a federal law with a ten year sunset period. It expired the 2004, and semi automatic rifles were legal to sell in CT until the state law ban in 2013. Thank you.
February 6, 2023 @ 10:42 am
Good morning Chy –
Thank you for your comment. We took a look this morning and see that the Office of Legislative Research (OLR) published this guidance (https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0241.htm) in 2013, and states a Connecticut ban was passed in 1993, was updated in 2001, and a few exemptions were made in 2002. The 2013 Public Act 13-3 is described by OLR as “substantially” expanding the ban, which may be where our readings of the law are running into each other. According to Governor Lamont’s Office: “Connecticut’s existing assault weapons ban, which was adopted in 1994 with significant modifications in 2013, includes several loopholes that leave a few categories of weapons unregulated.” If you have additional clarification or other information we should review, please feel free to comment here or email me directly at [email protected] and we will review it promptly.
Thank you for keeping a close eye on our work, it is greatly appreciated!
Conner Drigotas, Managing Editor