Connecticut Gun Laws
Subject/LawLong gunsHandgunsRelevant statutesNotes
State permit required to purchase?YesYesCGS 29-33(b),
CGS 29–36(f)CGS 29-38m(c)
Certificate of Eligibility for Pistol and Revolvers or Long Guns or Ammunition required to purchase handguns, long guns or ammunition, respectively or a State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers to purchase any of the above. Applicants must complete an approved safety course, and pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check and mental health records check prior to issuance of certificate. Certificates of Eligibility are granted on a Shall-Issue basis to qualified applicants, and are valid for five years. With the passing of Public Act 13-3, hunting licenses (which take approximately 12 hours to complete versus the eight hours the NRA Basic Pistol Course takes) may no longer be used to purchase ammunition or long rifles. Long guns and ammunition purchased outside of Connecticut are not subject to the long gun and ammunition eligibility requirements (even if one is a CT resident) other than the two-week waiting period must be observed for long gun transfers out of state, unless one has a valid hunting license or carry permit.
Firearm registration?PartialPartialCGS 53–202Registration required for assault weapons purchased between September 13, 1994 and April 1, 2014 and for machine guns obtained before January 1, 2014.There is a de facto registry of the sale (including the serial numbers) of handguns and long guns purchased in state that is maintained by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). Any transfer, be it from a dealer or private party, must be accompanied by an authorization number issued by the DESPP and a form containing personal and weapon identification (DPS-3-C) must be submitted to DESPP and local police. This form is collected and maintained on all guns purchased from FFL dealers as well. The DPS-3-C form is not required for long gun transfers made out of state, and there is no legal requirement/penalty to register firearms purchased out of state or lawfully obtained before April 1, 2014.
Assault weapon law?YesYesCGS 53–202Partial ban. Selective fire weapons, some .50 BMG variants, and semiautomatic center-fire firearms with one defined feature; banned weapons lawfully possessed prior to this date must be registered with DESPP. Registered weapons may only be sold or transferred to a licensed gun dealer, to the State Police or local police department, transferred to a recipient outside of Connecticut, or bequeathed to a designated heir when the original owner/registrant becomes deceased. Assault weapons manufactured and lawfully obtained prior to September 13, 1994 no longer require registration with DESPP and may be sold or transferred to non-prohibited persons.[45] Exceptions exist for active and retired law enforcement and military members.
Magazine capacity restriction?YesYes53-202wAs of April 4, 2013, magazines holding more than 10 rounds are considered Large Capacity Magazines (LCM), and such magazines manufactured after that date may not be sold or transferred within the state. Existing owners of LCMs may possess such magazines if they declare and register them with the DESPP before January 1, 2014; Owners of registered LCMs may not load such magazines with more than 10 rounds except when inside the owner’s home or on the premises of a licensed shooting range. Even if an individual has a permit to carry a pistol or revolver, they can never carry, other than at a shooting range, a pistol that has an LCM loaded with more than 10 bullets. Possessing an unregistered Large Capacity Magazine obtained prior to the ban’s effective date is an infraction with a $90 fine for the first offense, and a Class D felony (punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fine) for subsequent offenses. Unlawfully possessing a LCM obtained after the effective date of the ban is a Class D felony.
Owner license required?NoNoCGS 23-37a(b)No license/permit is required to own any firearm/ammunition in Connecticut, except for grandfathered assault weapons manufactured and obtained between September 13, 1994 and April 4, 2013.
Permit required for concealed carry?N/AYesCGS 29–28Shall-Issue, with Limited Discretion. Connecticut’s pistol permit law specifies that issuing authorities May-Issue pistol permits to qualified applicants, but the state’s courts have generally ruled that permits must be granted on a Shall-Issue basis to applicants meeting the state’s qualifications for a pistol permit, as Connecticut does not require an applicant to “show good cause” for needing a permit. Issuing local authorities have limited discretion to deny a permit when he or she has personal knowledge of the applicant’s character that would not otherwise be reflected on a background check. A denial on this basis would have to be justified with supporting evidence showing that the applicant is not of “suitable” character to be granted a pistol permit, but virtually all cases are thrown out if the applicant is not otherwise barred from owning firearms.Connecticut has a two-step permitting process: a 60-day Temporary permit issued by local authorities and a 5-year Regular permit issued by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). Issuance of a Temporary permit is technically not a prerequisite to apply for a Regular permit, but in practice an applicant must await a decision from local authorities on the temporary permit application before applying to DESPP for the Regular permit. If the local permit is denied for any reason, instead one files an appeal to DESPP to have the state board re-examine the application. If the state board denies the permit (rare occurrence), a court appeal is possible. Permit needed to carry open or concealed. Exceptions for peace officers and Active-Duty military members. Out of state permits not valid in Connecticut, but non-residents may apply for a Connecticut non-resident carry permit through the mail. Non-residents must have a carry permit issued by a United States jurisdiction to apply.
Permit required for open carry?NoYesConnecticut is a Licensed Open Carry state. A Connecticut Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers allows the carry of handguns openly or concealed any place in the state that is not considered “off-limits” under state law. Despite this, local law enforcement have been known[citation needed] to detain carriers. There have been very few actual arrests and no convictions in recent history as a result of carrying unconcealed however. State law is silent on the open carry of long guns in public either with or without a permit, although some municipalities have enacted ordinances restricting or banning the practice. Various towns and the state police as well have articulated through training memos that open carry is legal and to not harass people who carry openly without some other cause.[46]
Vehicle carry permitted?NoYesA valid Connecticut pistol permit is required to carry a loaded weapon in a vehicle. Otherwise, the weapon must be unloaded and the firearm its ammunition must be stored in separate locked containers during transport.As of October 1, 2019, handguns left in unattended vehicles are required to be stored in the trunk, locked safe, or locked glove box.[47]
Duty to inform?NoNoConnecticut is not a duty to inform state. Those who are carrying a pistol or revolver must carry their permit with them.
Castle Doctrine?YesYesNo duty to retreat if you are in your home or on property owned by yourself. There is no “stand your ground law” but, courts have granted civil immunity to those with carry permits and used “reasonable force” in the past.
State preemption of local restrictions?PartialYesCGS 29–28State pre-emption of local ordinances not explicitly specified in state law, but established by court precedence. Most municipalities have ordinances restricting or banning the discharge of firearms outside of firing ranges or designated hunting areas during hunting seasons. Some municipalities have restrictions or bans on carrying long guns in public places. The City of New London and the City of New Britain previously had ordinances that forbade open carry of handguns, which have since been repealed in both cities.
NFA weapons restricted?NoNoCGS 53–202(c)SBR, SBS, DD, suppressors are legal, provided they also comply with the assault weapons provisions, unless purchased before October 1, 1993. Machine guns are legal if purchased and registered with the state before January 1, 2014. Non-selective fire machine guns may be transferred to another resident within Connecticut.
Peaceable Journey laws?NoNoCGS 29–38Federal rules observed.
Background checks required for private sales?YesYesPrivate party firearm transfers require that a background check of the buyer be performed by a federally licensed dealer.
Red flag law?YesYesState law allows police, after investigating and determining probable cause, to get a court warrant and seize guns from anyone posing an imminent risk of harming himself or someone else.


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