Definitions and Prohibitions
Connecticut prohibits any person from possessing an assault weapon unless the weapon was possessed 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; and
- Is not in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §§ 53-202a to 53-202k (assault weapon regulations), and Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202o (affirmative defense in prosecution for possession of specified assault weapon).1
The state also prohibits any person from distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering or exposing for sale, or giving an assault weapon to any person.2
Connecticut defines an “assault weapon” as:
- Any “selective-fire” firearm capable of fully automatic, semi-automatic or “burst fire” at the option of the user;3
- Any semi-automatic centerfire rifle, regardless of the date produced, that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features: 1) A folding or telescoping stock; 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, or other stock that would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing; 3) A forward pistol grip; 4) A flash suppressor; or 5) A grenade or flare launcher;4
- A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features: 1) The ability to accept a detachable ammunition magazine that attaches at some location outside the pistol grip; 2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip or silencer; 3) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm without being burned (except a slide that encloses the barrel); or 4) A second hand grip;5
- A semi-automatic shotgun that has both of the following features: 1) A folding or telescoping stock; or 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other stock, the use of which would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing;6
- A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has: 1) a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition; or 2) an overall length of less than 30 inches;7
- A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the ability to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition;8
- A semiautomatic shotgun that can accept a detachable magazine; or9
- A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.10
Specific Prohibited Weapons
Connecticut bans the following specifically named semi-automatic firearms:
Connecticut bans the following semiautomatic centerfire rifles, or copies or duplicates of such rifles with their capability, that were in production before or on June 18, 2013:
Connecticut also bans the following specified semiautomatic pistols, or copies or duplicates of such pistols with their capability, that were in production prior to or on June 18, 2013:
Finally, Connecticut bans all IZHMASH Saiga 12 shotguns or copies or duplicates with the capability of such shotguns that were in production before or on June 18, 2013.14
Parts Considered an Assault Weapon in Some Circumstances
Connecticut bans a part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault weapon as defined under Connecticut law and any combination of parts from which such an assault weapon may be assembled if possessed by, or under the control of, the same person.15
Any firearm that has been permanently rendered inoperable is not an assault weapon.16 In addition, a part or combination of parts of an assault weapon, that are not assembled as an assault weapon, when in the possession of a licensed gun dealer or a gunsmith employed by a dealer for the purposes of servicing or repairing lawfully possessed assault weapons, do not constitute an assault weapon.17
Grandfathering of Assault Weapons
A person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993 may continue to possess the weapon if he or she obtained a certificate of possession.18
For assault weapons banned under the expanded definition in the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act, effective June 18, 2013, anyone who legally possessed one of the newly banned weapons on or after April 4, 2013, but prior to June 18, 2013, who is eligible for a certificate of possession, may continue to possess the weapon by applying to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for such certificate by January 1, 2014.19 A member of the U.S. military who is unable to apply by January 1, 2014, because he or she is out of state on official duty, has 90 days after returning to Connecticut to apply for a certificate.20 The certificate must contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, the owner’s full name, address, date of birth and thumbprint, and any other information that DESPP deems appropriate.21
Connecticut prohibits any person with a certificate of possession for any of the assault weapons added on April 4, 2013, from: 1) Selling or transferring the weapon in Connecticut to anyone except a licensed gun dealer; or 2) Otherwise transferring the weapon except by bequest or intestate succession.22 Any person who inherits an assault weapon for which a certificate was issued has 90 days to apply for a certificate or sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer, permanently disable it, or take it out of state.23
Anyone who moves into Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon has 90 days to make it permanently inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer or take it out of state.24 Military service members transferred to Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon may apply to DESPP for a certificate within 90 days of arriving in the state.25
Any person who obtained a certificate of possession for an existing assault weapon before April 5, 2013, for a weapon the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act of 2013 defines as an assault weapon, is deemed to have obtained a certificate of possession for such assault weapon and will not be required to obtain a separate certificate.26
Connecticut prohibits the transfer of most grandfathered weapons.27
A person issued a certificate of possession may possess his or her registered assault weapon at:
- His or her residence, property or business;
- Property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
- Certain target ranges or shooting clubs; and
- A firearms exhibition, display or educational project.28
A person may also possess a registered assault weapon while transporting the weapon to or from a permitted location noted above or to a licensed gun dealer for repair.29 When transported, an assault weapon must be unloaded and, if transported in a vehicle, kept in the trunk or in a case or container that is inaccessible to the operator or any passenger of the vehicle.30
When a person wishes to dispose of a registered assault weapon, he or she may transfer the weapon only to a licensed dealer, a police department or DESPP.31 A person who possesses a registered assault weapon must report the loss or theft of the weapon within 72 hours of the time the person discovered or should have discovered the loss or theft.32
An assault weapon defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202a(a)(3) and (4) (an assault weapon defined by criteria rather than specific name) is exempt from state transfer restrictions and registration requirements if it was legally manufactured prior to September 13, 1994.33
Connecticut also allows possession of certain specified assault weapon models under certain circumstances. The state allows a person to possess an Auto-Ordnance Thompson type, Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type, MAC-10, MAC-11 or MAC-11 Carbine type assault weapon if:
- It was obtained in good faith on or after October 1, 1993 and before May 8, 2002;
- The possessor is not prohibited from possessing the weapon under any other law; and
- The possessor has notified DESPP, prior to October 1, 2003, that he or she possesses the specified assault weapon.34
Connecticut provides that nothing contained in the state’s assault weapon regulations shall be construed to prohibit any person or corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing assault weapons from manufacturing or transporting assault weapons for sale: 1) Within the state to the DESPP, law enforcement, the Department of Correction, other specified state agencies, or military or naval forces; or 2) For sale outside the state.35
Connecticut allows the sale of assault weapons to the Department of Correction, DESPP, police departments, and military or naval forces for use in their official duties, as well as for off-duty use.36 Possession is allowed by members or employees of these entities for use in the discharge of their official duties. Connecticut permits sales to and possession by: 1) Employees of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensee operating a nuclear power plant in Connecticut for the purpose of providing security; or 2) Any person, firm, corporation, contractor, or subcontractor providing security at the plant.37
Finally, for assault weapons for which a certificate of possession is issued, Connecticut allows weapons to be possessed or received, under certain circumstances, by:
- Executors or administrators of an estate that includes an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued;
- Gun dealers; and
Similarly, Connecticut allows for: 1) Individuals to arrange to relinquish a weapon to a police department or DESPP;39 2) Temporary transfers or possession for certain out-of-state events;40 and 3) Weapons to be transported to or from a shooting competition or exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms sponsored, conducted by, approved or under the auspices of a law enforcement agency or a national or state-recognized entity that fosters proficiency in firearms use or promotes firearms education.41
See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202c(a), (c).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(1). State law also specifically prohibits the transfer, sale or giving of an assault weapon to a person under age 18. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(2).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(i).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(iv).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vi).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(ii), (iii).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(v).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vii).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(viii).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(B).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(C).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(D).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202a(1)(F), 53-202a(1)(A)(ii).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(2).
- See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(1), Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 53-202d-1—53-202d-5, and the Registration of Firearms in Connecticut section for further information.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(2)(A).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(4).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b)(2).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(c).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(d).
- See Id.
- Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 53-202d(a)(3).
- See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b), (c).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f)(6).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202f(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202d(b)-(d); 53-202e.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202g(a).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202m.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202n(a), (b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202i.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202i, 53-202b(b)(1).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b(b)(1); 53-202c(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b, 53-202c(e), 53-202d(b), 53-202f.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202e.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202h.