HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Gov. Ned Lamont has signed into law sweeping legislation to strengthen gun violence prevention laws in Connecticut, according to an announcement from the governor’s office.
House Bill 6667 includes provisions to prevent mass shootings, community gun violence, firearm related accidents, suicides and will add protections for domestic violence victims.
The bill was introduced by the governor at the start of the 2023 legislative session and developed in part with bipartisan state lawmakers. According to the governor, a diverse set of stakeholders weighed in on the bill including mayors, police chiefs, prosecutors, victim advocates and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
The part of the bill that closes loopholes in the assault weapon ban effective immediately banning so called “other” firearms and “pre-ban firearms”
The legislation has various effective dates for different provisions of the bill, which can be found here.
Gov. Lamont released a statement to the public following the passing of the bill:
“This bill that I just signed takes smart and strategic steps to strengthen the laws in Connecticut to prevent tragedy from happening,”Lamont said. “As more and more shootings have occurred over the last decade – including mass shootings – federal and state laws have not kept up with the innovative ways firearm companies are manufacturing guns, especially those that are being designed with the sole intention of killing the largest number of people possible in the shortest amount of time. Our country still needs strong federal laws on firearm safety and gun violence prevention with the breadth to impact every state. The inaction of Congress on critical legislation to keep Americans safe requires each state to act individually. Over the years, Connecticut has shown time and again that we can improve public safety by implementing reasonable gun violence prevention laws while also respecting the rights of Americans to own guns for their own protection and sportsmanship. This bill that I’ve signed continues that fair, commonsense balance. I appreciate the bipartisan group of legislators who thoughtfully considered this bill and voted in favor of sending it to my desk, and I especially thank the leadership of the General Assembly and the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Gary Winfield and Representative Steve Stafstrom, for their thoughtful and tireless work on the bill.”
Major provisions of the bill include:
- Open carry: Legislation bans the open carry of firearms in public, but individuals with a gun permit may continue to conceal carry, except in restricted locations.
- High-risk repeat offenders: Bail, probation and parole responses will increase for those with repeated firearm offenses.
- Ghost guns: Legislation updates the 2019 ghost gun proposal to include the ban of ghost guns assembled before the bill’s enactment. All ghost guns must be registered with the state by Jan. 1, 2024.
- Bulk Purchasing: The legislation prevents the bulk purchasing of handguns from discouraging straw purchases by barring the sale, delivery or transfer of more than three handguns within a 30-day period, or six handguns from a firearm instructor. Law enforcement agencies, returns and exchanges, and transfers to a museum will be excluded from the bill.
- Safe storage: Legislation expands current safe storage laws to apply to all situations, not just those involving minors or prohibited people who could potentially gain access to a firearm.
- Gun dealer accountability: Law increases accountability by permitting the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to issue a notice of violation barring sale for any dealer who violates their responsibilities.
- Assault weapons ban: Legislation bans the loopholes in Connecticut’s current laws on assault weapons by adding firearms with banned features and guns left out of the 1994 “pre-ban.” New registration will open for 2023 assault weapons, officials said. The weapons could be registered until May 1, 2024, if the guns were purchased before the passage. If the firearms were already registered, the gun owners can continue possessing them, but any further transfers would most likely be barred.
- Large capacity magazine ban: Legislation will ensure enforceability for Connecticut’s ban on large-capacity magazines by making possession a class D felony, for prohibited people and a class A misdemeanor for non-prohibited individuals.
- Underage gun purchases: The bill will expand Connecticut’s existing prohibition on the retail sale of semi-automatic firearms rifles with a capacity greater than five rounds to anyone under 21 including private sales.
- Pistol permit training: Legislation will update the training requirements needed for pistol permits as well as the eligibility certificates to require instruction on the lawful use of firearms, storage safety and state firearm laws.
- Trigger locks: The law requires all firearms to be sold with trigger locks.
- Domestic violence: Legislation makes the commission of a family violence crime or federal domestic violence misdemeanor an automatic disqualifier for a pistol permit. This includes the commission of the crime after Oct. 1, 2023, as a qualifier for criminal possession of a firearm.
- Transport: Law requires all long guns including ones categorized as “other” to be unloaded while they are carried in a vehicle.
- Body Armor: Legislation requires anyone purchasing body armor to possess a pistol permit or eligibility certificate. Specific law enforcement, state, judicial and military officials would be exempt.
- Permitting of timelines: Legislation creates a timeline for local law enforcement agencies to act during the first part of the pistol permit process.