Ned Lamont
Gov. Ned Lamont during a June 6, 2023 media briefing Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Gov. Ned Lamont gave final approval to a sweeping update to Connecticut gun regulations on Tuesday, signing into law a bill that expands the state’s assault weapons ban, restricts the open carry of firearms, and raises the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle. 

The governor’s signature comes just three days after the bill passed the state Senate following an overnight debate. In a statement, Lamont said the new law would take steps to prevent future tragedies. 

“Over the years, Connecticut has shown time and again that we can improve public safety by implementing reasonable gun violence prevention laws while also respecting the rights of Americans to own guns for their own protection and sportsmanship,” Lamont said. “This bill that I’ve signed continues that fair, commonsense balance.”

Lamont proposed many of the bill’s concepts at the start of this year’s legislative session. They include broadening a prohibition on certain firearms considered assault weapons, raising the age to purchase semi automatic rifles to 21, and capping the number of handguns someone can buy to three in a 30-day period or six for a firearm instructor.  

Among other things, the proposal expands registration requirements for guns with no serial numbers and hikes penalties for possessing a large capacity magazine. It includes more stringent safe storage requirements and restricts the sale of body armor to those with a pistol permit or eligibility certificate. 

Other elements of the bill came from a coalition of Connecticut mayors, who sought tools to crack down on repeat gun violence offenders through dedicated gun dockets at state courts and provisions to more easily revoke bail and probation for offenders repeatedly convicted of certain gun crimes.

“As more and more shootings have occurred over the last decade – including mass shootings – federal and state laws have not kept up with the innovative ways firearm companies are manufacturing guns, especially those that are being designed with the sole intention of killing the largest number of people possible in the shortest amount of time,” Lamont said. 

The new law is expected to be challenged in court. On Monday, two gun rights groups announced plans to file suit in opposition to elements of the bill.