NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut leaders are reacting to a major expansion of gun rights after Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public.
In their 6-3 decision, the justices struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry one in public. The justices said that requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
The high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade is expected to ultimately allow more people to legally carry guns on the streets of the country’s largest cities as California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have laws similar to New York’s. About a quarter of the U.S. population live in states expected to be affected by the ruling.
The Supreme Court’s decision comes as Congress is working toward the passage of bipartisan gun legislation following mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.
Connecticut’s Concealed Carry and Gun Laws
Connecticut is a may-issue state, meaning that local law enforcement has discretion over whether to issue a permit to carry a handgun based on the applicant’s suitability. The suitability requirement applies to applicants seeking new permits as well as those updating existing permits. Connecticut residents must have a state pistol permit to purchase a handgun, and concealed carry is legal for those who have the permit.
The minimum age for concealed carry is 21, and certain areas including schools and state parks are off-limits. Connecticut does not honor permits from other states and requires a state-approved training course for those attempting to obtain a license.
The Process to Obtain a Pistol Permit in Conn.
In order to obtain a pistol permit, an individual must go to their local police department and fill out a temporary permit application. The individual must get fingerprinted for a background check by the FBI and the town police chief will approve or deny the application. The application is then forwarded to state police for a state permit. Law requires a sign-off within 8 weeks of the application.
State Leaders React
Gov. Ned Lamont said the decision “will not prevent Connecticut from enforcing its responsible gun ownership laws.”
“As a matter of fact, the court specifically distinguished our approach when it comes to the issuance of permits and tools for law enforcement to keep firearms out of the hands of those who may do harm,” the Democrat said. “However, we should all be concerned that today’s ruling heralds a newly aggressive effort to second-guess commonsense state and local policies that save lives while accommodating both gun rights and gun safety. One thing we know is true – more guns do not make us safer, and as governor, I will continue to pursue policies that make our laws stronger to keep our residents out of harm’s way.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), a key participant in the gun violence legislation negotiations, said Thursday’s “deeply destructive decision will unleash even more gun violence on American communities.”
“Instead of upholding common-sense safeguards to reduce gun violence, it will only put more guns in public spaces and open the floodgates to invalidate sensible gun safety laws in more states,” Blumenthal said. “Worse yet, it is a significant step backwards at a moment when horrendous shootings happen across our country every day, taking too many beautiful lives and terrorizing generations of Americans.”
Blumenthal said the Supreme Court’s decision will not impact the Senate’s agreement on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
“As gun violence soars, Congress must heed the will of the majority of Americans who support gun safety measures and break the legislative logjam to stop this senseless violence,” he said. “This activist Supreme Court is once again legislating from the bench, but Congress must continue to legislate for a safer America.”
Attorney General William Tong called the decision “reckless” and a “radical rewrite” of the Supreme Court’s previous positions although he believes the state’s gun laws are not immediately impacted.
“We should expect a wave of new lawsuits nationwide and here in Connecticut, coordinated by gun groups like the NRA, challenging our assault weapons ban, age restrictions on gun ownership, prohibitions on guns in sensitive locations like schools, and provisions enabling public safety professionals to review the suitability of an applicant before granting a gun permit,” Tong said. “This decision is reckless, and the consequences for public safety nationwide are dire, but it was not unexpected. We have been working closely with advocates, legislators, and other attorneys general nationwide and are ready to aggressively defend Connecticut’s laws.”
Judiciary Committee Senate Chairman Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) said he was “disappointed but not shocked” by the decision.
“In Connecticut, we have worked diligently to pass common-sense gun safety legislation to protect our citizens. This case – and the ensuing lawsuits that will follow from it – threaten those protections,” Winfield said. “We remain steadfast in our efforts and will be ready with any necessary legislative responses to ensure that Connecticut remains at the forefront of gun safety and that our citizens remain safe within the boundaries of this state.”
Leora Levy, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, said “this was the right decision” and it “upholds the values and principles set forth in the Constitution.”
“Biden and Blumenthal are crying foul today about the Supreme Court’s ruling, clearly eager to dismiss Americans’ constitutional rights,” Levy said. “Our Justices did their job and reinforced law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights in the face of overreaching state laws.”
Connecticut’s Citizens Defense League Viewpoint’s on Conn. Gun Permit Laws
Connecticut does not require you to prove “good cause” for why you should have a permit to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense.
Holly Sullivan the President of Connecticut’s Citizens Defense League said the problem is some Connecticut cities make it difficult to get a gun permit. An example being that people have been denied because a family member was in jail.
“They are not even around the individual. They don’t have access to that person’s home they are incarcerated. simply because this is a relative they were denied because of association,” said Sullivan.
CCDL has a standing lawsuit against three cities; Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford.
Sullivan calls their tactics an egregious violation of a constitutionally protected right.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin declined to discuss the ongoing lawsuit – but did tell me it is disturbing to see the Supreme Court justices take such a broad interpretation of the second amendment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.