Understanding laws related to carrying a handgun in the state of Connecticut is important if you own a gun. There are many different situations in which carrying a gun is legal, while in other situations it might be illegal. On this page, I will discuss the laws related to carrying a handgun in Connecticut, when it is appropriate, when it is not, and potential crimes you may face if you break these laws.
Out of State Licenses and Permits
If you have an out of state license or permit, be aware that Connecticut will not recognize it. To carry a firearm legally in Connecticut, you must be a resident and you have to fill out a permit application under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28a.
If you aren’t a Connecticut resident but have bona fide permanent residence in another state, you can still apply for a carry permit in the state of Connecticut. You can do this by applying directly to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Weapons Covered Under Connecticut Carry Statute
The Connecticut carry statue refers only to revolvers and pistols. These weapons are defined as a firearm with a barrel that is less than twelve inches long.
The state of Connecticut won’t recognize licenses or permits from other states for other weapons such as:
- BB guns
- Electronic defense weapons
- Brass knuckles
- Martial arts weapons
Possession of these weapons is unlawful in Connecticut unless a relevant statutory exception applies.
Carrying a Handgun in a Vehicle
Unless you have the proper license or permit, carrying a machine gun, pistol, revolver, or any weapon in a motor vehicle is illegal. This is the case unless there is a relevant statutory exception that applies to your situation.
If an individual is not prohibited from transporting, shipping, possessing, or receiving a firearm, they could engage in the interstate transportation of firearms. But, some restrictions apply under federal statutes 18 USC 926A and 927 and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38d.
Also keep in mind that Connecticut permits transportation of firearms without a permit from a place of sale to the buyer’s property. This can happen if the firearm stays in its original packaging.
Local Government Regulation
There isn’t a statute in Connecticut that stops local governments from enacting their own firearm laws. Instead, local government ordinances can’t conflict with state laws. Because of this, make sure that you check with local town firearm laws to make sure that you are in compliance.
Open Carry Laws
Connecticut now has a statute prohibiting open carry of a firearm in plain view.
But make sure that you do have a valid license or permit and that you keep that documentation on your person if you are carrying a firearm. If you are stopped by a police officer and they have reasonable suspicion that a crime occurred, you have to produce this permit. But, the officer must be able to see the pistol or revolver in order to legally stop you.
Handgun Prohibited Places
You cannot carry a firearm in all places in the state of Connecticut. Here are some prohibited places that you cannot carry a pistol or revolver:
- School grounds (without an independent license/privilege to do so). This includes school sponsored activities.
- House of the General Assembly.
- Office of an officer, member, committee, or employee of the General Assembly.
- Building where a public hearing is held by the General Assembly committee.
- Any place where firearms are prohibited by the person who owns the premises or prohibited by law.
- Unless authorized by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, it is illegal to carry firearms or other weapons in a state forest or state park.
Alcohol and Firearms
In Connecticut, it is illegal to carry a loaded pistol or revolver if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher.
Potential Carry Crimes
Carrying a pistol or a revolver in Connecticut could lead to charges of certain crimes. Here are the crimes that you may face unless you carefully follow the law:
- Carrying a Dangerous Weapon (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-206). This includes weapons such as knives, BB guns, batons/nightsticks, electronic defense weapons, and martial arts weapons (but does not include firearms). This is a Class E felony.
- Carrying Pistol Without a Permit (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35(a)). This is a Class D felony that carries a one year mandatory minimum unless the court determines mitigating circumstances. Any firearm found in possession of a person while in violation of the statute shall be forfeited.
- Failure to Carry Pistol Permit (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35(b)). This is an infraction and a fine of $35. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37(c).
- Illegal Carry of Firearm While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-206d(a)) This is a Class B misdemeanor.
- Illegal Possession of Weapon in Motor Vehicle (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38). This includes carrying a firearm when proper permit has not been issued. It is a Class D felony.
- Violating Pistol Permit Requirements (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28). This is a Class E felony and any firearm found in possession of person while in violation of the statute shall be forfeited. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37(a).
- Violating Pistol Permit Requirements-Unauthorized Premises (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(e)). This is a Class E felony and any firearm found in possession of person while in violation of the statute shall be forfeited. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37(a)