Preventing Gun Violence

August 28, 2023

In light of the latest killings this week - three Black individuals were murdered by a racist in Florida, and eight people shot in an urban melee outside Boston - it’s time to talk, once again, about gun violence. More than 25,000 people have been killed by guns in America so far this year. At least 170 of them were children. Death by suicide made up the majority of gun deaths. 

So, I am proud that once again Connecticut is a leader in gun violence prevention. 

One of the most significant pieces of legislation we passed this last session was HB 6667: An Act Addressing Gun Violence. This bill, passed with bipartisan support and signed by Governor Lamont earlier this summer, strengthens Connecticut’s gun violence prevention laws in significant ways. It includes provisions to prevent community gun violence, stop mass shootings, avoid firearm-related accidents, add protections for domestic violence victims, and avert suicides. Click HERE to read the bill. 

As always, I realize I will not have pleased everyone by pushing the green button. But I stand firmly behind my “yes” vote, for while I know responsible gun owners will decry this as government overreach, I believe it is the government’s responsibility to protect people, including, at times and unfortunately, from one another.

One of the provisions in this new bill will ban the practice of openly carrying firearms in public. This will rile Second Amendment rights advocates. But this practice is usually meant to intimidate others - at one public hearing a few years back, I watched as a dozen members of the CCDL (open carry) advocacy group - decked out in their black t-shirts with pistol logo - deliberately sat behind a young woman who survived the Sandy Hook slaughter. (I refuse to call it a “tragedy” - which implies something inevitable.)

This brave young woman, only six when her classmates were murdered before her eyes, had the courage to come to the Capitol and testify before the Judiciary Committee on a proposed gun bill. Her knees were shaking. Her father stood silently beside her. But she had more guts than all the men behind her combined, who sniggered and mumbled sarcastic remarks as she spoke. Imagine if we allowed them to openly carry guns in the Capitol! Now, people like this will be banned from this flagrant, pointless display outside government buildings, too.


Gun safety advocates work hard every day to educate legislators, and I am grateful for their dedication. 


Some of the major provisions in the bill (as summarized by the Governor’s Office) include:

  • Open carry: Bans the open carrying of firearms in public, while continuing to allow concealed carry with a permit except for particular locations.
  • High-risk repeat offenders: Increases bail, probation and parole thresholds for those with repeated serious firearm offenses.
  • Ghost guns: Updates the state’s 2019 ban on unregistered “ghost guns” to include those that were assembled prior to the enactment of that ban. Those ghost guns must be registered with the state by January 1, 2024.
  • Bulk purchase of guns: Prevents the bulk purchasing of handguns to discourage straw purchases by barring the sale, delivery, or transfer of more than three handguns to an individual in a 30-day period, or six handguns for an instructor. Law enforcement agencies, returns/exchanges, and transfers to a museum are exempted.
  • Gun dealer accountability: Increases gun dealer accountability by permitting the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to issue a notice of violation and impose an order barring sales for any dealers violating any of their responsibilities.
  • Safe storage: Expands the state’s safe storage laws to all situations, not only those where a minor or prohibited person may gain access to a firearm.
  • Assault weapons ban: Closes loopholes in the state’s ban on assault weapons by including “other” firearms with banned features analogous to those on banned pistols and rifles and pre-September 13, 1994, “pre-ban” firearms that were carved out of the original ban. A new registration will open for these 2023 assault weapons. If purchased before the date of passage, these weapons can be registered until May 1, 2024. If registered, owners can continue possessing them but further transfers are generally barred.
  • Large-capacity magazine ban: Ensures enforceability of the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines by making possession a class D felony for prohibited persons and a class A misdemeanor for non-prohibited persons.
  • Underage purchases of guns: Expands the state’s existing prohibition on the retail sale of semiautomatic rifles with capacity greater than five rounds to anyone under the age of 21 to also include private sales.
  • Pistol permit training: Updates the training requirements for pistol permits and eligibility certificates to require instruction on safe storage, state firearms laws, and lawful use of firearms.
  • Domestic violence: Makes commission of a family violence crime or federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence into an automatic disqualifier for having a pistol permit, and adds commission of such a crime after October 1, 2023, as a qualifier for criminal possession of a firearm.
  • Trigger locks: Requires all firearms, not just handguns, to be sold with a trigger lock.
  • Transport: Clarifies that all long guns, including ones categorized as “other,” must be carried unloaded in a vehicle.
  • Body armor: Requires anyone purchasing body armor to possess a pistol permit or eligibility certificate. This includes exemptions for certain law enforcement officers, state and judicial officials, and military personnel.
  • Permitting timelines: Creates a timeline for local authorities to act on the first stage of the pistol permitting process.

Until Congress finds the courage shown by this one teenager - and teens throughout the country fed up with mass shootings - I’ll continue to work to make Connecticut one of the safest states in our nation.