Pistol Permit Reciprocity in Connecticut (There isn’t any)

Yesterday I wrote about how it is possible in Connecticut for people to be charged with Breach of Peace related to the legal carrying of a firearm. I noted that one must have a valid carry permit to carry a pistol, concealed or openly, on his or her person or in a vehicle. All states except for Vermont, Alaska, Arkansas and Wyoming currently require a pistol permit. Many of these states honor some other states’ permits, meaning that an out-of-state permit-holder can carry in the allowing state without having to obtain that state’s permit. Connecticut however is not one of those states. Connecticut does not have a reciprocity agreement with any other state to honor its permits.

In short, a person cannot carry a pistol on his or her person or in a vehicle in Connecticut without a valid Connecticut permit. The penalty for carrying without a permit, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 29-35 is one to five years of imprisonment, one year of which cannot be suspended unless good cause is shown. That is not a hard mandatory minimum but it is minimum time. The penalty for possessing a weapon in a motor vehicle, which includes a pistol without a permit in a motor vehicle, in violation of Sec. 29-38, is up to three years of imprisonment without any minimum. Both offenses are felonies.

Since people travel and Connecticut is a small state with three neighbors, the logical question is: what if someone with a valid permit from his or her own state travels through Connecticut with firearms in the vehicle? State and federal law allow such transportation to take place. Sec. 29-38d provide

(a) The provisions of sections 29-35 and 29-38 shall not apply to the interstate transportation of firearms through this state in accordance with 18 USC 926A and 927, as amended from time to time, by any person who is not otherwise prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing a firearm. Such person may transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where such person may lawfully possess and carry such firearm through this state to any other place where such person may lawfully possess and carry such firearm provided such transportation is in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) During the transportation of a firearm through this state as authorized in subsection (a) of this section, such firearm shall be unloaded and neither such firearm nor any ammunition being transported shall be readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, such firearm shall be unloaded and such firearm and any ammunition being transported shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

(c) No person who is transporting a firearm through this state in accordance with this section may use or carry such firearm or sell, deliver or otherwise transfer such firearm while in this state.

The federal law cited, 18 U.S.C. 926A provides

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

While Connecticut does not recognize pistol permits from other states, some states will recognize a Connecticut permit. If you do plan on carrying your weapon in another state, it is imperative to verify the laws and permit requirements in that state as well as those of states you plan on traveling through. States have their own firearms laws and often illegal possession is a strict liability offense with severe penalties.


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