Effective October 1, 2013, Connecticut prohibits the sale of ammunition or an ammunition magazine to any buyer unless the prospective ammunition purchaser:
- Has a handgun carry permit, gun sales permit, or long gun or handgun eligibility certificate, and presents such a credential to the seller; or
- Has an ammunition certificate and presents to the seller such certificate along with a driver’s license, passport, or other valid government-issued identification that contains the person’s photograph and date of birth.1
These provisions do not apply to the transfer of ammunition between federal firearms licensees, among other specific persons or entities.2
Ammunition Purchaser Permitting – Ammunition Certificate
Under Connecticut law, any person who is age 18 or older may request the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection (Commissioner) to: 1) conduct a criminal history records check of such person, using the person’s name and date of birth only; and 2) if approved, issue an ammunition certificate to such person.3
The ammunition certificate must be in the form prescribed by the Commissioner, and must contain an identification number and the name, address, and date of birth of the certificate holder and be signed by the holder.4
The name and address of a person issued an ammunition certificate must be confidential and must not be disclosed except:
- To law enforcement officials acting in the performance of their duties;
- By the Commissioner to the extent necessary to comply with a request made for a firearms or ammunition certificate for verification that such certificate is still valid and has not been suspended or revoked; and
- To the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to carry out the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes § 17a-500, requiring the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to maintain information on commitment orders by a probate court and on voluntary commitments, and requires probate courts to maintain information regarding cases relating to persons with psychiatric disabilities.5
The fee for each ammunition certificate is $35 and there is an additional fee for the criminal history records check.6
An originally issued ammunition certificate expires five years after the date it becomes effective and each renewal certificate will expire five years from the date it is issued.7
An ammunition certificate must be revoked by the Commissioner if any event occurs which would have disqualified the holder from being issued the certificate.8
Connecticut prohibits any person from knowingly distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering, or exposing for sale, or giving any person any “armor-piercing bullet” or “incendiary.50 caliber bullet.” An “armor-piercing bullet” includes any.50 caliber bullet that is designed for the purpose of, held out by the manufacturer or distributor as, or generally recognized as having a specialized capability to penetrate armor or bulletproof glass, including, but not limited to, bullets designated as “M2 Armor-Piercing” or “AP,” “M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary” or “API,” “M20 Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer” or “APIT,” “M903 Caliber.50 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator” or “SLAP,” or “M962 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator Tracer” or “SLAPT.”9 Effective October 1, 2013, this definition will include any bullet that can be fired from a pistol or revolver that: 1) has 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; or 2) 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; and 3) 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, or any other projectiles or projectile cores that the U.S. Attorney General finds to be primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes or industrial purposes or that otherwise do not constitute “armor piercing ammunition” as defined in federal law.10
An “incendiary.50 caliber bullet” is defined as any.50 caliber bullet that is designed for the purpose of, held out by the manufacturer or distributor as, or generally recognized as having a specialized capability to ignite upon impact, including, but not limited to, such bullets commonly designated as “M1 Incendiary,” “M23 Incendiary,” “M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary” or “API,” or “M20 Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer” or “APIT.”11
Connecticut also prohibits any person from knowingly transporting or carrying a firearm loaded with an armor piercing bullet or incendiary .50 caliber bullet.12 The prohibited ammunition provisions exempt:
- The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, police departments, the Department of Correction, or the state or U.S. military forces for use in the discharge of their official duties;
- An executor or administrator of an estate that includes such ammunition that is disposed of as authorized by the Probate Court; and
- The transfer by bequest or intestate succession of such ammunition.13
The federal prohibition on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition also applies.
Transfer of Ammunition for Prohibited Persons
Not later than two business days after the occurrence of any event that makes a person ineligible to possess a firearm or ammunition, that person must transfer any ammunition in his or her possession to a federally licensed firearms dealer or another person eligible to possess the ammunition, or surrender the ammunition to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.14 The prohibited possessor may, at any time up to one year after such delivery or surrender, have any ammunition transferred to any person eligible to possess such ammunition. Notification must be given in writing by such person and the transferee to the Commissioner, who must deliver the ammunition to the transferee. If, at the end of a year, the ammunition has not been transferred at the request of the prohibited person, the Commissioner must have the ammunition destroyed.15
Domestic Violence Prohibitions and Ammunition
Connecticut requires the application form for civil restraining orders to include a space for an alleged victim of domestic violence to indicate whether the alleged domestic violence offender possesses ammunition.16 As of October 1, 2013, domestic violence units in the Connecticut judicial system that respond to cases involving family violence are required to inform the court if a domestic violence victim indicates that a defendant possesses ammunition.17
Police are allowed to seize ammunition under the same circumstances as they can seize guns when investigating domestic violence crimes.18 Namely, whenever a peace officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, the officer may seize any ammunition at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. The ammunition must be returned in its original condition to the rightful owner unless that person is ineligible to possess the ammunition, or unless otherwise ordered by the court.19
Disposal of Contraband Ammunition
Firearms and ammunition determined by a court to be contraband or a nuisance pursuant to state law must be turned over to the Bureau of Identification of the Connecticut Division of State Police for destruction or appropriate use or disposal by sale at public auction.20 The proceeds of any such sale must be paid to the State Treasurer and deposited by the State Treasurer in the forfeit firearms account within the general fund.21
Seizure of Ammunition
If any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney, or any two police officers have probable cause to believe that a person: 1) Poses a risk of imminent personal injury to themselves or to others; 2) Possesses one or more firearms, and 3) Such firearms are within or upon any place, thing or person, then a judge may issue a warrant commanding law enforcement to enter into or upon the named place or thing, search the place or thing or the person, and take into custody any firearms and ammunition.22 This action can only be taken if the officers have made an independent investigation and believe there is no reasonable alternative available to prevent the person from causing imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others with a firearm.23
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- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38m(c). An “ammunition magazine” is any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that accepts ammunition. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38m(a).
- See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38m(d).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(a). After conducting the criminal history records check, the Commissioner must issue an ammunition certificate unless the commissioner determines, based on a review of the results of the records check, that such person would be ineligible to be issued a long gun eligibility certificate under Connecticut law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(c). An ammunition certificate holder must notify the Commissioner not later than two business days after any change of such person’s address. The notification must include both the old address and the new address. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(d).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38n(e).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38o(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38o(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38p(a). The person whose certificate is revoked must be notified, in writing, and the certificate must be delivered to the Commissioner. Any person who fails to surrender a revoked certificate within five days of notification, in writing, of revocation of the certificate, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38p(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(1), (b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(1). “Armor piercing bullet” does not include a shotgun shell. Id.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(a)(2).
- Conn. Gen. Stat.  53-2021(c).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202l(d).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-15(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38c(c)(A).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38b(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-36e(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-36e(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a).