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S.B. 1160, AAC Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Frequently Asked Questions

April 4, 2013

Q. Does the new law mean I have to give up any of my currently owned firearms, magazines, or ammunition?

A. No. If you legally owned it before this law, you keep it. The bill does not provide for the confiscation of any property lawfully owned prior to the effective date of the bill.

Q. What types of rifles are banned?

A. The bill bans the sale of “assault” style rifles. It applies to semi-automatic centerfire rifles which are either specifically named in the bill, or which have a detachable magazine and has one or more of the following features: (1) a folding or telescopic stock, (2) a grip that is below the action of the weapon, (3) forward grip, (4) a flash suppressor or a grenade or flare launcher. It also limits semiautomatic centerfire rifles that have a fixed magazine with the ability to accept more than ten rounds or any semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

Q. What types of handguns are banned?

A. The bill bans certain assault style semiautomatic pistols with detachable magazines and one of the following features: (1) An ability to accept a detachable magazine that attaches at some location outside of the pistol grip, (2) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip or silencer, (3) a shroud, or (4) a
second hand grip.  It also limits any semiautomatic pistol that has a fixed magazine that accepts more than ten rounds.

Q. Are any shotguns banned?

A. The bill adds shotguns with the following features to the assault weapons ban: Semiautomatic shotguns that have BOTH a folding or telescopic stock and a grip that is below the action of the weapon. Shotguns that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine will now be banned. In addition, shotguns with a revolving cylinder will also be
illegal. No other shotguns are impacted by the bill.

Q. Are any rimfire rifles banned?

A. Rimfire rifles are not affected by the new law. There are semiautomatic pistols that fire rimfire ammunition that may fit within the definition of an assault weapon depending on the features of such pistol.

Q. If I own a gun that is going to be banned, what do I need to do?

A. If you own one or more of the assault style guns the bill now bans, you must register the guns with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (D.E.S.P.P.) before January 1, 2014 and get a certificate of possession for that firearm. People in possession of newly designated assault weapons who fail to register their firearms will have committed a Class A misdemeanor for a first time violation. Subsequent violations of the law will be classified as a Class D felony. If you have bought one of these guns and are waiting for delivery, you will be allowed to keep it as long as you register the gun. If it comes with a large magazine, you will be able to keep that as well.

Q. Do any other long guns, shotguns or rifles need to be registered?

A. No. Registration only applies to the assault-style semiautomatic rifles.

Q. What are the limits on detachable magazines?

A. You will no longer be able to buy detachable magazines that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition in Connecticut. If you already owned one or more of these large magazines, you can keep those magazines as long as you file a declaration of possession with the D.E.S.P.P. The declaration will let the Department know you lawfully possessed the large capacity magazines before the bill went into effect.

Q. If I already own a large capacity magazine, can I still use it?

A. Yes. If you legally possess large capacity magazines prior to the passage of the bill, you can still use it in your gun. If you are at home or at target ranges or shooting clubs, you can load as many bullets as the magazine can hold. Anywhere else, you can only load 10 bullets in the magazine.

Q. If I have a pistol that holds more than 10 bullets, can I still carry it?

A. If you have a carry permit, you can still carry your pistol with a large capacity magazine, but you can only load 10 bullets in the magazine

Q. If I own large capacity magazines, what do I need to do?

A. People who own large capacity magazines (magazines that exceed 10 rounds of bullets) will have to declare how many they own by January 1, 2014 on a form that D.E.S.P.P will develop. If you do not declare that you own such a magazine, you will be breaking the law: the first offense will be an infraction, but a second offense will be a Class D felony.

Q. If I already own guns, and only want to buy ammunition, do I need to do anything?

A. After October 1, 2013, if you have a pistol permit, eligibility certificate, or long gun eligibility certificate, you won’t need to get anything else. If you do not have one of these documents, you will need to apply for a new “ammunition certificate”.

To obtain an ammunition certificate, any person 18 or older may request that the D.E.S.P.P. perform a national criminal history records check to determine if such person is eligible to possess a firearm in Connecticut. After a successful records check, the Department will issue an ammunition certificate that is good for 5 years.

Q. What do I need to do if I want to buy a long gun?

A. After April 1, 2014, you will need to have a pistol permit, an eligibility certificate, or a
“long gun eligibility certificate to purchase a long gun in Connecticut.

The new long gun eligibility certificate is similar to the existing handgun eligibility certificate. To apply for a long gun eligibility certificate, a person must be 18 or older, successfully complete a firearms safety course and background check, and must not have been involuntarily confined to a hospital for a psychiatric disability within the past 5 years or voluntarily confined to a hospital for a psychiatric disability within the past 6 months.

Q. If I own a .22 caliber rifle, do I need to register it?

A. No. .22’s are not banned and do not need to be registered, even if the gun has military style characteristics such as a pistol grip.

Q.What will the impact of the banned weapons be to the gun industry in Connecticut?

A. Manufacturers of assault weapons located in Connecticut will be able to continue to engage in the manufacturing of assault weapons in this state. Manufacturers may

also continue to sell rimfire rifles, shotguns and rifles that meet our new definition. Section 53-202i of the Connecticut General Statutes expressly exempts the assault ban provisions from the manufacture of such weapons.

Q. Will antique weapons firearms be subject to the assault weapons ban?

A. The current definition of what constitutes an antique firearm remains unchanged under the bill.

Q. Will there be any limits as to the number of legal firearms or amount of ammunition that I can purchase?

A. No. The bill does not limit or restrict the amount of legal firearms or ammunition that may be purchased by an eligible buyer.

Q. Are there changes being made to the permit application process or fee structure?

A. The process for obtaining a pistol permit remains the same; however, applicants going forward will only be able to apply for a temporary permit to carry in the town where they are a bona fide resident. In the past, you could apply for a temporary permit to carry in either your town of residence or place of business. Also, you may only apply for a temporary permit to carry a pistol or revolver once every twelve months.

There are no increases in any existing fees. There are fees related to the new long gun eligibility certificate and the ammunition certificate. Both certificates will cost $35 every five years.

Q. Will there be a new firearm ammunition tax?

A. No. There are no new taxes included in the bill.

Q. Will there be a new insurance requirement for firearms owners?

A. No. There is no mention of insurance requirements for firearms owners in the bill.

Q. Are police, military and corrections officers who are exempt in their professional capacity also exempt in the private capacity?

A. Yes. The exemptions for police, military and corrections officers apply on and off duty.

Q. How does the bill change private transactions?

A. The bill will requires a background check for all firearm sales, including private transactions. Parties seeking to privately transfer a firearm will need to provide proof that they are eligible to buy or sell a firearm, and they will need to have a background check performed by either the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or a federal firearms license dealer. This applies not only to sales, but to other transfers such as passing a firearm to an heir. The person getting the gun must be legally allowed to possess it.

Q. Will those who currently own a firearm be required to undergo retroactive “universal” background checks?

A. Only those who possessed newly designated assault weapons prior to passage of the bill will have to apply for a certificate of possession for assault weapons. The application for the certificate of possession requires a background check.

Q. How will online gun purchases be changed?

A. The laws that apply to the purchase or sale of firearms or ammunition under Connecticut law apply to online purchases. Businesses selling firearms or ammunition online to Connecticut residents will need to verify that a person is eligible to purchase a firearm or ammunition in order to sell it.