Connecticut Gun Laws

Connecticut has a number of laws that regulate the sale, use, and possession of ammunition and firearms. In April of 2013 the state enacted several new gun laws in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and many now consider Connecticut to have some of the strictest gun laws in the United States.

Purchasing a Firearm

Connecticut is one of the few states in the union that require permits to purchase long guns, hand guns, and ammunition. While permits are needed in many states to purchase a handgun, permits to purchase a long gun and ammunition are rare. In order to obtain the certificate needed for either a handgun or a long gun an individual must pass an NCIS background check and successfully complete a state approved safety course.

The state has strict laws regarding who is eligible for a long gun, pistol (handgun), or ammunition certificate. In addition to federal laws that prohibit felons and individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, individuals who have been convicted of the following crimes in Connecticut since October 1, 1994 are prohibited from getting a long gun, pistol, or ammunition permit:

  • Illegal possession of narcotics
  • Stalking in the second degree
  • Rioting in the first or second degree
  • Inciting to riot
  • Threatening
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Assault of a victim 60 or older in the third degree
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Reckless endangerment in the first degree
  • Unlawful restraint in the second degree

In addition, Connecticut does not allow a person to possess a firearm if he or she has been hospitalized for mental illness in the past 12 months, has been found not guilty for a crime by reason of insanity or mental disease in the last 20 years, or has been convicted as a delinquent for very serious juvenile criminal offenses.

Concealed Carry

Connecticut is considered a “Shall Issue, with Limited Discretion” state, meaning that the process of obtaining a concealed carry license is more difficult than a “Shall Issue” state, but less rigorous than getting a concealed carry license in a “May Issue” state. The state does not put the burden on the applicant to “show good cause” for why they need to carry a concealed firearm.

Open Carry

Openly carrying a firearm is permitted with a license. If a person obtains a Connecticut Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers he or she may choose to carry a concealed handgun or carry it openly. Technically openly carrying a long gun without a permit is legal on the state level, but many towns and municipalities have enacted bans on openly carrying a long gun.

Transporting Firearms

It is illegal to carry a firearm that is accessible in a vehicle in Connecticut without a permit. In order to legally transport a firearm without a permit, it must be unloaded and not easily accessible from the passenger compartment of a vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a trunk that locks, the firearm must be locked in a secure container while in the vehicle.

Castle Doctrine

Connecticut is one of 46 states that have adopted Castle Doctrine Laws. Under these laws, when inhabiting a residence an individual has no duty to retreat and may use force, including deadly force, in self-defense or to stop a violent crime from occurring. The Castle Doctrine protects a person inhabiting a home from criminal charges in the event that an intruder is injured or killed in self-defense because the person feared bodily harm or death. These laws also protect a person inhabiting a home and acting in self-defense from being sued civilly for monetary damages by the intruder, or the intruder’s family in the event that the intruder is killed.

Stand Your Ground Laws are and expansion of the Castle Doctrine Laws, which state that a person does not have the duty to retreat from the threat of bodily harm or death when outside of a residences. Despite Stand Your Ground Laws being presented to the Connecticut Legislature several times, the law has never passed. As of now, a person has the duty to retreat before using any force when he or she feels threatened outside of a residence.