Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Connecticut Gun Control Laws

In 2012, twenty children and six adults died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut after a lone gunman entered the school and started shooting. It remains the deadliest elementary school shooting in U.S. history. As a result, efforts directed at gun violence prevention and gun safety have expanded since that time.

In 2013, the State of Connecticut enacted an assault weapons ban and placed limits on large-capacity magazines. It increased regulations in the area of background checks and gun permits. The state's expanded definition of an assault weapon includes the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle modeled after the M16, a modern military weapon. The law imposes a 10-round ammunition limit on magazine capacity. At present, Connecticut's gun control laws have survived after several legal challenges.

State administration of Connecticut gun laws occurs through the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). The state permit process for handguns and long guns (rifles and shotguns) falls under the Connecticut State Police, Special Licensing and Firearms Unit (SLFU). The SLFU manages all retail and private sale transactions and transfer of firearms in the state. It keeps registries on all machine guns and assault weapons. It also runs background checks on purchases and transfers. 

All gun purchases and transfers in Connecticut must comply with both federal law and state law restrictions.

In 2023, Governor Ned Lamont signed a new law designed to strengthen Connecticut's gun safety regulations. The law bans the open carrying of firearms in most circumstances. It increased the minimum age to purchase certain semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, consistent with requirements related to handguns. 

It also banned the sale of assembly kits for ghost guns, which allow persons to assemble an untraceable firearm without a serial number. It required those who sell, deliver, or transfer pistols to provide a trigger lock or other appropriate gun-locking device. Gun owners must engage in safe storage of any firearm they keep on their premises unless they have the firearm on their person or in close proximity so as to readily retrieve and use it. 

Anyone who sells 10 or more firearms in a calendar year is considered a gun dealer and, along with federally licensed dealers, must get a state permit for sale from their local police chief or other executive officer.

The following table has details on Connecticut gun control laws.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

The following firearms are illegal to own in Connecticut

  • Assault weapons, but see C.G.S.A. section 53-202 for limited exceptions for weapons legally owned before 7-1-94
  • A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault weapon
  • Certain semi-automatic centerfire rifles
  • Certain semiautomatic pistols and shotguns
  • Silencers
  • Bump stocks or other rate of fire enhancers

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Connecticut. However, buyers must first have a valid permit or certificate to purchase a firearm. This process requires a criminal background check.

Who May Not Own

Under most circumstances, you must be an adult (18 or older) to own a firearm. You can't own or possess a firearm if you:

  • Have a felony or a violent misdemeanor conviction
  • Have been convicted as a delinquent for a serious juvenile offense
  • Have been admitted to a mental institution by an order of a court in the past five years or discharged from custody in the past 20 years after the finding of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect
  • Are subject to a restraining or protective order and case involved use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force
  • Are subject to a firearm seizure order after notice and opportunity to be heard
  • Were voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric care hospital within the past six months except for drug or alcohol dependency
  • Are in the United States illegally (for handguns only)
  • Are a fugitive from justice
  • Are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime per federal law
  • Are otherwise prohibited under federal law
To own or possess a handgun or semi-automatic centerfire rifle that accepts over five rounds, you must be 21 years old.

License Required?

Connecticut does not use the term license. You need a pistol permit, a permit to sell firearms, or an eligibility certificate to purchase a firearm in Connecticut.

Concealed Carry License Required?

Yes, you need a pistol permit (carry permit) to carry a concealed firearm in Connecticut.

Open Carried Allowed?

No. Only in limited circumstances, like on your own property or business, is open carry permitted. Where it is permitted, you need a pistol permit to carry in Connecticut.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

If you are 21 years of age and have a residence or place of business in Connecticut, you can get a carry permit as long as the following prohibitions do not apply to you:

  • You are illegally present in the U.S.
  • You have a felony conviction or certain violent misdemeanor conviction(s)
  • You were convicted as a delinquent for committing a serious juvenile offense
  • You were committed to a mental hospital within the past 60 months by an order of a court
  • You are subject to a protective or restraining order
  • You are subject to a firearm seizure order because you pose an imminent risk of harm to yourself or others
  • You were voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric care hospital within the past six months except for drug or alcohol dependency
  • You did not complete an approved firearm training course
  • You are otherwise prohibited from ownership or possession of a firearm under federal or state law

Machine Gun Laws

  • You can't possess a machine gun for offensive or aggressive purposes.
  • You can't transfer, sell, or give a machine gun to a person who is under 16 years old.
  • You must register any machine gun at the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection within 24 hours of purchase.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Criminal possession of a firearm, ammunition, or an electronic defense weapon is a Class C felony. It applies to any person prohibited from firearm ownership by law. This offense is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a fine of $5,000. The maximum penalties are 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possession of a prohibited weapon is a class D felony punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $500. The maximum penalties are five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Possession of a firearm on school grounds is a class D felony punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of five years in prison. The maximum fine is $5,000.

Red Flag Law?

Yes. State attorneys and law enforcement officers can file a complaint and courts can issue a risk protection order against persons found to be a threat of harm to self or others. Family members and medical professionals can file a request for a risk protection order investigation. See C.G.S.A. section 29-38c.

Universal Background Checks?


Stand Your Ground law?

No. Connecticut does not have a Stand Your Ground law. Its self-defense laws govern the use of physical force to respond to an attack. They provide a duty to retreat prior to the use of deadly force outside the home.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of the state law(s) you are reviewing.

Connecticut Criminal Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Connecticut's Gun Laws

Do you want to know more about firearm ownership in Connecticut? Are you facing criminal charges under Connecticut's gun laws? You can get answers from someone familiar with state and federal firearms law. Consider speaking with an experienced Connecticut attorney today.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex criminal defense situations usually require a lawyer
  • Defense attorneys can help protect your rights
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties

Get tailored advice and ask your legal questions. Many Connecticut attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options