A handgun on display at the Springfield Armory booth at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting
A handgun on display at the Springfield Armory booth at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Connecticut Governor Signs Open Carry Ban, Expands ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban

Gun owners in the Constitution State will soon be forced to contend with a bevy of constitutionally-questionable new restrictions.

On Tuesday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D.) signed House Bill 6667 into law. The new gun-control bill is wide-ranging. It will ban open carry, expand the list of firearms covered under the state’s existing “assault weapon” ban, expand the state’s “ghost gun” ban to include possession, limit the number of handguns that can be purchased per month, and more.

“This bill that I just signed takes smart and strategic steps to strengthen the laws in Connecticut to prevent tragedy from happening,” Lamont said in a press release. “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.”

The bill’s enactment marks one of the largest and most comprehensive gun-control bills to pass anywhere in the nation this year. Its sweeping restrictions on purchasing, possessing, and carrying firearms will almost certainly draw a legal challenge from gun-rights advocates. The limits are likely to face a higher level of scrutiny than in years past because of the new test for gun laws set in the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Federal judges across the country have struck down similar provisions, especially assault weapons bans, across the country in the wake of Bruen–though others have upheld them, and the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in.

The Firearms Policy Coalition criticized the bill, saying it will “create criminal liability for the mere exercise of a fundamental right.” The gun-rights group said the move made the state’s motto into a “twist of bitter irony.”

“Governor Lamont and his legislative co-conspirators need to be reminded that the fundamental right to keep and bear arms falls outside the purview of their offices,” the group said in a press release. “They are simply not in a position to so casually dispose of those rights that are naturally intrinsic to the People.”

Gun-control advocates praised the new law with the same level of enthusiasm that gun-rights advocates criticized it.

“We applaud the Connecticut legislature and Governor Ned Lamont for keeping Connecticut a national leader in the gun safety movement by passing and signing this comprehensive gun safety package,” Alissa Dumont, a member of the Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “This bill will ensure that bad actors in the gun industry are held accountable, requiring best practices for gun owners, and ensuring guns are not openly carried in our neighborhood.”

Under the bill, gun owners would be prohibited from openly carrying any firearm publicly, with limited exceptions for hunters and persons engaged in training courses. Violations would be punishable by up to 364 days in jail. It also expands the state’s current ban on manufacturing unserialized firearms to include possession of such weapons. Current owners of unserialized guns would be given until January 1, 2024, to register those weapons and obtain a serial number.

The law also expands the state’s current ban on “assault weapons” to include any semi-automatic centerfire gun with at least one or more cosmetic features, such as a flash suppressor or barrel shroud. Previously, the state banned firearms by make and model. Those with guns affected by the state’s new definition of assault weapon must register them with the state no later than May 1, 2024, to maintain possession. Violations of this provision would be a class D felony.

The law also limits the number of handguns a person may purchase in a 30-day period to three. NRA-certified instructors will be allowed six handguns in a 30-day period. Additionally, the state’s “safe storage” requirement will be expanded to cover all gun owners rather than those living with minors or prohibited possessors.

The law also adds at least a dozen new requirements on licensed gun dealers operating in the state, including a provision requiring dealers to annually report their firearm inventories to the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). The DESPP will be empowered to impose an order barring future sales on any dealer found to be violating the newly created requirements.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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