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Connecticut Gun Laws

Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. There are strict regulations on many types of ammunition and hardware. All Connecticut firearms purchasers must be licensed, and Connecticut enforces Universal Background Checks. As a “may issue” state, local law enforcement has discretion in whether or not to issue concealed carry permits. Through this type of restrictive legislation, Connecticut is generally seen as one of the least gun-friendly states in the nation.

Connecticut Gun Laws at a Glance


Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted Yes
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting Yes
Firearms License Required for Purchasing Yes
Universal Background Check Yes
Firearm Registration Yes
Large Capacity Magazine Ban Yes

Firearm License Requirements


Hand Gun Eligibility Certificate

In Connecticut, a person may not own a handgun unless he or she holds a valid handgun eligibility certificate. All persons are entitled to a handgun eligibility certificate, unless he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony or of certain violent misdemeanors
  • Has been convicted as a delinquent for a serious juvenile offense
  • Has been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found guilty of a crime due to mental disease
  • Has been ordered into a mental hospital within the preceding 60 months
  • Has been voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital within the preceding six months for reasons other than alcohol or drug dependence
  • Is subject to a restraining order or protective order
  • Is subject to a firearms seizure order
  • Is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm for mental health reasons
  • Is an undocumented person living illegally in the United States
  • Is under 21 years of age
  • Has not completed an approved safety course in the use of handguns

Eligibility certificates are valid for five years.

Long Gun Eligibility Certificate

In Connecticut, a person may not own a long gun unless he or she holds a valid long gun eligibility certificate. All persons are entitled to a long gun eligibility certificate unless he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony or of certain violent misdemeanors
  • Has been convicted as a delinquent for a serious juvenile offense
  • Has been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found guilty of a crime due to mental disease
  • Has been ordered into a mental hospital within the preceding 60 months
  • Has been voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital within the preceding six months for reasons other than alcohol or drug dependence
  • Is subject to a restraining order or protective order
  • Is subject to a firearms seizure order
  • Is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm for mental health reasons
  • Is an undocumented person living illegally in the United States
  • Is under 18 years of age
  • Has not completed an approved safety course in the use of handguns

Background Checks


Handgun transfers may not be made in Connecticut until the transferee has received an authorization number, which is granted following a background check from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). A federal background check will also apply.
For long gun transfers, similar conditions must be met. The prospective transferor and transferee must comply with the following authorization requirements for the retail sale of long guns:

  • The seller must document the transaction with the DESPP, maintain copies of this record, and obtain an authorization number from the DESPP.
  • The buyer must undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check.
  • The DESPP must either authorize or deny the transfer.

Alternatively, transfers can be made without the DESPP if consented to by the buyer. If this procedure is chosen, the transfer must be made in accordance with the following steps:
The transferee must provide the dealer with the transferee’s name, gender, race, date of birth, and state of residence. If deemed necessary by the transferor or transferee, the transferee may also provide additional identifiers such as height, weight, eye color, or social security number.
The transferee must also present to the dealer his or her relevant gun credentials. This may be any of the following: gun eligibility certificate, handgun permit, handgun sale permit, or handgun eligibility certificate.
The dealer must then perform a background check by contacting the NCIS directly. The dealer is obligated to notify the transferee of the response from the NCIS. If the response indicates that the transferee is ineligible to receive a gun, the transfer must be terminated.

After the transaction has been completed, the transferor or transferee must complete a DESPP form that provides the:

  • Transferor’s name, address, and firearm permit or certificate number, if any
  • Transferee’s name, address, date and place of birth, and firearm permit or certificate number
  • Transfer date
  • Caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number and a general description of the gun
  • Background check transaction number.

Gun Shows


Connecticut requires that unlicensed sellers conduct background checks on prospective buyers. Further, all gun sales at gun shows must be processed through a licensed dealer. Gun sales at gun shows are subject to the same background checks as gun sales occurring at retail outlets.

Connecticut Gun Show Definition Any event at which 50 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer or exchange to the public, or:
At which two or more persons are exhibiting one or more firearms for sale, transfer or exchange to the public.

Connecticut prohibits any type of firearms transfers at gun shows until a background check is conducted on the transferee and the transferee receives an authorization number approving the transfer. This also applies to private sellers.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Prohibited unless the assault weapon was owned prior to July 1, 1994 and the possessor:
  • Was eligible to apply for a certificate of possession for the assault weapon by July 1, 1994
  • Lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993
  • Is not in violation of any Connecticut general statutes
50 Caliber Rifles Connecticut bans the ownership, distribution, importation, transportation, and keeping of the Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1.
Machine Guns Connecticut prohibits the use or possession of machine guns for any “offensive or aggravated purposes.”
If a machine gun is legally owned, Connecticut prohibits the transfer of that machine gun to anyone under the age of 16. This includes the temporary transfer for target shooting or use at a firing range.
Large Capacity Magazines Prohibited, with the definition of large-capacity magazine being any “magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”
Ammunition Connecticut has banned .50 caliber ammunition as well as ammunition that:
  • Features projectiles or projectile cores constructed entirely, excluding the presence of trances of other substances, from tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium
  • Is fully jacketed with a jacket weight of more than 25% of the total weight of the projectile, is larger than .22 caliber and designed and intended for use in a firearm
  • Does not have projectiles whose cores are composed of soft materials such as lead or lead alloys, zinc or zinc alloys, frangible projectiles designed primarily for sporting purposes.

Prohibited Persons


With very few exceptions,Connecticut prohibits the ownership of a firearm if the prospective owner:

  • Has been can convicted of a felony on or after October 1 2013
  • Has been convicted for a serious juvenile offense
  • Has been discharged from custody after having been not found guilty of a crime due to a mental disease or disorder
  • Is subject to a restraining or protective order
  • Is subject to a firearms seizure order
  • Due to court order, was confined in a psychiatric hospital within the past 60 months or 12 months if the person has a valid certificate dated prior to October 1, 2013
  • Was voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for reasons other than alcohol or drug dependence
  • Is prohibited from owning a firearm for reasons pursuant to federal laws
  • (For handguns only) is residing illegally in the United States

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Connecticut prohibits any person from possessing a firearm on the property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school or at a school-sponsored activity. This restriction does not apply to: The officially-approved use of firearms in school functions. If the gun is unloaded, travesering school property for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes Any other agreement entered into by the possessor and the school administration
Vehicles A person may carry a firearm (regardless of permit) while driving for personal protection. Connecticut prohibits a person from carrying any type of firearm other than a handgun in a vehicle, unless the chamber is unloaded.
Public Courthouses Connecticut prohibits anyone from having in a vehicle a gun for which the proper permit has not been issued. See Details.
Locations and events selling alcohol Prohibited. With a valid concealed carry license, you may carry in locations that serve alcohol.

Guns in Vehicles

Connecticut prohibits anyone without the proper permit from having a firearm in a vehicle. There are some exceptions to this restriction.

A person may transport firearms in vehicles if the firearms are unloaded, not readily accessible, or contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment only when:

  • Carrying the handgun in the package in which it was originally wrapped at the time of transfer, when transporting the handgun from the place of sale to the owner’s residence.
  • Moving household goods from one place to another.
  • Transporting the handgun from the owner’s place of residence to the place where the handgun will be repaired (or when returning from this place).
  • Transporting the handgun through the state for the purpose of competitions, formal training, meetings, or exhibitions of any collectors’ group event
  • Transporting the handgun to and from a testing range per the request of a handgun permit issuing authority.
  • Transporting an antique handgun.

Concealed Carry Laws


Notify Officer Not required by state law -- however, this may vary by county.
“No Gun” Signs No
In-Vehicle Carry Yes
Restaurant Carry Yes
State Park Carry Yes
While Hunting No

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Connecticut is a “may issue” state. This means that local law enforcement has the discretion to determine whether or not to issue a concealed carry permit to a given applicant.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
To obtain a concealed carry license in Connecticut, the applicant must:
  • Must be over 21 years of age.
  • Legal resident of the United States
  • Has residence or business in the jurisdiction where they are applying
  • Intends to only use the handgun for lawful purposes
  • Has not been convicted of a felony
  • Has not been found guilty of:
    • Criminal possession of a narcotic substance
    • Criminally negligent homicide
    • Assault in the third degree
    • Reckless endangerment
    • Unlawful restraint
    • Riot
    • Stalking
  • Has not been convicted for a serious juvenile offense
  • Has not been released from custody after having been found not guilty of a crime due to mental disease or disorder
  • Is not subject to a restraining or protective order issued by a court involving the use or thread of physical force
  • Is not subject to a firearms seizure
  • Is not prohibited from possessing a firearm for any reason
  • Has not been ruled to be mentally incompetent
  • Is a “suitable person” to carry a firearm

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Applicants are required to complete handgun safety training that has been approved by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection. During this course, students must fire a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a concealed carry license, concealed handguns are prohibited at the following locations:

  • Public or private elementary or secondary school property
  • State parks, state and national forests
  • Any building in which the chamber of either house of the general assembly is located
  • Any building in which the office of any official is located
  • Any building in which a committee of the general assembly is holding a public hearing
  • All town-owned property in Woodbridge
  • Any private property that is posted or where the owner prohibits concealed carrying of firearms
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by either state or federal law

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.