NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven federal judge is expected to decide soon whether people can carry handguns into Connecticut state parks and forests for self-defense.
David Nastri, a Cheshire resident, lawyer and financial advisor, filed a lawsuit in January to overturn the state policy. Current regulations from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection allow handguns for hunting small game at specific times and locations.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday in U.S. District Court I New Haven. The judge could consider a temporary injunction, which would lift the ban immediately.
Monday at Sleeping Giant State Park, hikers News 8 spoke with had mixed reactions to the upcoming decision.
“More guns in public parks would be the last thing that the state and the country needs, especially with everything that’s happened,” said Dave Donohue, a father walking the trail with his 3-year-old son.
Danielle Musco, of East Haven, said she doesn’t own guns but supports the idea of protecting yourself.
“[If] someone decides to come here with ill intent, it’s the good people with good intent that’s going to stop that situation,” Musco said. “It’s not the cops that are miles down the road.”
According to Nastri’s complaint, “There is no question that Connecticut can still enforce all of its other laws while permitting law-abiding citizens such as Nastri to carry a handgun for self-defense in state parks and forests.”
DEEP filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying in part, “Plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient facts to make out a plausible claim that he has standing … this lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”
Daisy Rodriguez, of Hamden, said safety is important against people and wildlife, so she wanted to bring her gun on Monday’s hike with friends.
“A lot of things have been going on, so I don’t know, I just would’ve. I wanted to bring mine,” Rodriguez said.
Others, like Benjamin Davis of Hamden, said that if you need to protect yourself against wildlife, reconsider entering their habitat.
“You’re here exploring the wilderness,” he said. “You’re in their territory. They even put up signs saying don’t come out here during certain hours, beware of wildlife during certain seasons.”
The report below is from News 8 at 5 p.m. on May 8, 2023.