I do not have a restraining order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?
Even if you do not have a restraining order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of any crime, it can still be illegal for him/her to have a gun under the following circumstances. It is illegal under Connecticut state law for a person to possess (have) a firearm or ammunition if any of the following are true:
- s/he has been discharged from custody within the past 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect;
- s/he has been confined on or after October 1, 2013, in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the past five years by order of a probate court, or within the past 1 year if the person already has a valid permit or certificate to carry firearms;
- s/he has been voluntarily admitted on or after October 1, 2013, to a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities or within the past six months for care and treatment of a psychiatric disability; Note: This does not apply if:
- the person voluntarily admitted him/herself for alcohol or drug dependency; or
- if the person is a police officer who voluntarily admitted him/herself and had his/her firearm returned for official use; or
- s/he has been adjudicated as a “mental defective” or has been committed to a mental institution (and therefore is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm under the federal law 18 USC 922(g)(4)).1
In addition, a person can be denied a certificate to carry a revolver or pistol if any of the following are true:
- s/he meets any of the conditions listed in numbers 1-4 above;
- s/he is under age 21;
- s/he is an “alien” who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
- a judge ordered that his/her firearms be seized for the reasons explained in the paragraph below.2
Under Connecticut law, if a state’s attorney or any two police officers believe that a person who possesses one or more firearms poses a risk of immediate personal injury to himself/herself or to others, the state’s attorney or police officers can ask a judge to issue a warrant to seize all firearms and ammunition from that person.3 See our Firearms Seizure Law section for more information.
If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Staying Safe page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the CT Advocates and Shelters page.
For additional information on gun laws in Connecticut, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 C.G.S.A. § 53a-217(a)
2 C.G.S.A § 29-36f
3 C.G.S.A. § 29-38c(a)
I read through all of this information, and I'm still confused. What can I do?
Trying to understand federal law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.
- You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the how firearm laws apply to you: 1-800-903-0111, ext. 2.
- You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. See our CT Advocates and Shelters page.
- You can write to our Email Hotline.