Gov. Ned Lamont and state Police inspect more than hundred guns seized from one individual Credit: Lisa Backus photo

Banning open carry, investing in community violence intervention, limiting handgun purchases to one per month and updating registration of “ghost guns,” are just some of the proposals Gov. Ned Lamont plans to propose as part of his budget next month. 

Banning assault weapons, which were grandfathered in in 2013 following the Sandy Hook School shooting, was not part of the list even though Lamont made a point during the election to say he wanted to ban them. 

“It’s our responsibility to implement policies that keep our homes and our neighborhoods safe, and we have to take every opportunity to keep our residents protected,” Lamont said Monday during an event in Waterbury. “These commonsense reforms will protect our neighborhoods and the people who live in them.”

Lamont said by banning open carry it would prevent the intimidation of residents at certain locations such as protests and polling places, and allow law enforcement to more effectively address community gun violence. He said Connecticut residents are surprised that open carry exists in the state. However, open carry is legal in most states. It is only banned in California, Florida, Illinois, and Washington, DC.

Lamont also wants to limit the number of handguns residents can purchase to one per month. 

Connecticut law currently does not include any limitations regarding the quantity of firearms consumers can purchase within specific periods of time. 

For Lamont and gun prevention advocates, this means it makes it easier for criminals to purchase firearms in bulk with the intention of illegally selling them on the underground market, where many guns used in crimes are obtained. 

“Many guns involved in crimes occurring in our communities are purchased illegally on the underground market, and deterring this kind of straw purchasing will have a major impact on lowering crime,” Lamont said. “I think a lot of people are surprised when they learn that you can buy an unlimited number of handguns within a very short period of time.”

Lamont also wants to require the registration of all “ghost guns,” even those assembled before 2019. The 2019 law grandfathered in all weapons without a serial number registered in the state. 

Lamont is now proposing eliminating that exemption and requiring all those guns to be registered similar to the 2013 law requiring all large-capacity magazines to be registered with the state.

Most of the proposals are expected to receive pushback from Second Amendment groups, who have been challenging the 2013 changes to Connecticut’s gun laws in court as recently as last year.  

President of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League Holly Sullivan said there is already a gun safety curriculum for the schools that was mandated as part of Ethan’s Law in 2019 and yet none of the urban school districts have implemented it into their curriculum. 

She said the Lamont administration continues to ignore gun owners as part of the conversation. 

If they had been then he would not be proposing limiting handguns to one per person, per month. She said what happens when a gun owner wants to transfer a gun to a family member while they seek mental health treatment, but that family member can’t accept the transfer because they already received a handgun that month? She said that creates a dangerous situation. 

As far as conceal carry is concerned she said it’s a solution in search of a problem. She said it creates a “stop and frisk” environment that creates a social justice issue for Black and Hispanic gun owners. She said the only gun owners she knows who open carry are the ones who are handicapped and have nowhere to conceal the gun. 

And the registration of “ghost guns” will only cause hobbyists to line up around State Police headquarters in Middletown. She said those making “ghost guns” are doing it illegally. 

She said if they had a gun owner at the table when these policy proposals are being made would prevent some of the nonsense. 

“The governor knows how to reach me. They don’t want to reach me,” Sullivan said. 

Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, agreed.

“Unfortunately, once again the governor and majority party Democrats have failed to recognize – or worse, chosen to ignore – that the current policy of blaming victims, restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens, and coddling violent offenders isn’t working, and are instead doubling down by trying to further limit the ability of Connecticut residents to protect themselves,” Fishbein said. “If enacted, these new proposals will do more to harass and restrict law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional Rights, and little to curb the increased violent crime sweeping through our state.”