Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness. Connecticut has adopted other classes of prohibited persons, and incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. Connecticut law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm or ammunition if he or she:1
- Has been convicted of a felony (with limited exceptions) or, on or after October 1, 2013, certain violent or intimidating misdemeanors;
- Has been convicted as a delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense;
- Has been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime due to mental disease or defect;
- Has been confined in a mental hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding year by order of a probate court;
- Is subject to a restraining or protective order of any state court, or a foreign order of protection, in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person;
- Is subject to a firearms seizure order, issued after notice and an opportunity to be heard;
- Was confined on or after October 1, 2013, in a hospital for people with psychiatric disabilities under a probate court order within the past: a) 60 months; or b) 12 months, if the person has a valid permit or certificate in effect before October 1, 2013;
- Beginning October 1, 2013, was voluntarily admitted to a hospital for people with psychiatric disabilities within the past six months for care and treatment of a psychiatric disability and not solely for being an alcohol or drug-dependent person;
- For handguns only, is illegally in the United States; or2
- Is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm for mental health reasons pursuant to federal law.
The penalty for violating the above prohibitions is a class C felony with a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.3
No person, firm, or corporation, including any private (unlicensed) seller, may transfer a handgun to an individual until the person, firm or corporation making such transfer obtains an authorization number from the Connecticut Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, who must perform a background check to determine whether the applicant is prohibited from possessing a handgun.4 Any person, firm or corporation wishing to sell a long gun at retail must verify through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that the transferee is eligible to possess a firearm.5
For details on persons prohibited from obtaining an eligibility certificate for a handgun or a long gun, see the Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers in Connecticut section.
See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.