Buying Guns and Ammo in Connecticut

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece addresses the firearms and ammunition laws in the state of Connecticut. It is one of the stricter states in terms of buying, possessing, and carrying firearms. To help work through the relatively complex laws of the state, this piece begins with the ammunition laws of the state to help folks purchase ammunition in the state. From there, we outline the relevant firearms laws involved with purchasing and carrying guns in the state. Having done that, the piece wraps up with some resources that are likely to people interested in gun ownership in Connecticut.

Nothing in this piece is intended as legal advice. We do hope, however, that you find it an informative starting point for your understanding of the firearms and ammunition laws in the state.

Many states have preemption written into their statutes, which means that the state prevents smaller localities like counties and cities from making gun laws that are stricter than those on the state level. This is where the laws in Connecticut get complex.  While there is no statute that lays out preemption, the state’s highest court has ruled that localities cannot make laws that contradict those at the state level, when the state legislature intended their laws to cover the whole state.

In practical terms, this means that Connecticut has preemption as of now, until either the US Supreme Court or Connecticut statutes rule otherwise. That means that the laws described in this piece should, at the time of this writing, cover the state as a whole. 

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Connecticut 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state. 

The ammo laws in Connecticut are some of the most strict in the nation. Before purchasing any ammunition at all, the state requires an “ammunition certificate” based on a background check done by the state. There is an associated $35 fee, before even beginning the ammo-buying process.

With a certificate in hand and presented at an FFL, the state further regulates ammunition, having a prohibition on armor-piercing rounds.

Because of the need for a certificate for purchase, online retailers are generally unwilling to ship to the state, which limits the shopping choices of people in the state to those that they can reach in person.

Once a buyer does get the certificate and purchases approved ammunition in-person from an FFL, Connecticut also has a ban on magazines over ten rounds in capacity.  As is often the case in legally strict states, all of the statutes linked in this section do carve out exceptions for law enforcement within the state: the limits on rights here are placed on law-abiding citizens alone. 

There are also federal limitations to think about here. According to the ATF, people have to be eighteen to buy rifle or shotgun ammo, and twenty-one to buy pistol ammunition. Prohibited persons, such as those convicted of felonies or who have been involuntarily admitted into a mental health facility, cannot purchase ammunition.

Because it has a permit requirement before purchasing ammunition, bans on certain ammunition types, and a magazine ban, the ammunition laws in Connecticut rival the most strict in the nation.

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Connecticut 

Next, we will do the same exercise for CT gun laws. 

Much like the ammunition laws in the state, purchasing a firearm in Connecticut is a process that has quite a bit of legal paperwork to it. Before getting to that paperwork, however, there are some firearms that are outright banned.

The state has an assault weapons ban that bans many semi-automatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns by both name and via sets of features: it is one of the strictest assault weapons bans in the nation.

Assuming the buyer wants a rifle or shotgun that is not on the banned list, the gun buying process is like much more lax states: the buyer has to fill out a Form 4473, pay for the item, and can leave with the firearm the same day, assuming that the background check goes according to plan.

For pistols, Connecticut requires that people have a permit to make the purchase. This adds an additional $70 in fees for the permit itself, as well as the associated costs of an approved training course. With a permit in hand, the state mandates that holders notify them within forty-eight hours if they move to a different address within the state. It is an exceptionally onerous process. Luckily, it appears as though the state considers this permit as equal to the separate ammunition permit, and thus if one only plans to purchase a pistol and its ammunition, a pistol license alone is sufficient.  Once the buyer has the permit in hand, they can go to the gun store and follow the normal 4473 process to purchase a pistol. 

The state also mandates that all private party gun sales have a background check. For pistols, the state mandates the seller keep records of the transaction for twenty years, effectively treating everyday people with the same standards as FFLs.

Carrying a firearm in the state has its own challenges. In terms of purchasing, things are simpler for pistol owners here: the same pistol permit that is required for buying a handgun in Connecticut is also the state’s concealed carry permit. Some states honor this permit, but CT Pistol Licence holders cannot carry a pistol in many states, and no neighboring states honor the permit.

Even with a permit, there are some places that the state deems totally off-limits, including:

  • Schools 

  • Legislative buildings 

  • Hospitals

  • Bars

  • Churches 

  • Near flammable materials

This list is not unusual, though some of the provisions have ranges, such as being 500 feet from the storage of flammable materials, which might open up otherwise unaware people to prosecution.

Carrying long guns is, effectively, only legal on private property and in state or national lands designated for hunting and shooting. There are no state provisions for the concealed carry of long guns, and open carry is forbidden.

Despite the relatively hostile legal environment, Charter Arms manufacturers revolvers in the state.

Connecticut makes both buying and carrying firearms in the state legally challenging: it is entirely possible to be over $100 into the purchase of a firearm before even walking into a gun store. Buying pistols requires an onerous permit, and the carriage of long guns is basically forbidden. CT is one of the strictest states in the United States when it comes to firearms laws. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Connecticut 

The general sales tax in Connecticut is 6.35%. At the moment, the state does not impose additional taxes on firearms and ammunition. With that said, the fees for required permits are, in effect, taxes on the exercise of the right to purchase and carry firearms.

There is also a proposed bill in the state that would place a per-round tax on ammunition of two cents on calibers .22LR and smaller and five cents on larger calibers. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in Connecticut. This list is kept well up to date: generally, gun stores are either Type 1 or Type 2 FFLs. 

  • The state maintains a number of publicly accessible ranges for people to engage in shooting sports. 

  • The well-rated gun shops in the state can likely help people navigate the legal landscape in CT. 

  • There is a reasonably active subreddit dedicated to gun ownership in CT, and it has quite a few informative threads about local classes, FFLs, and events.

CT Gun Law FAQ:

Yes, it is legal to buy a pistol in CT. To do so, the potential buyer has to have a Pistol Permit issued by the state, which is a process that has to be completed in advance. The permit requires a background check, fees, and classes. This will likely take at least a month, so plan in advance.

The state’s Pistol Permit and relevant laws do not forbid open carry. Long guns, however, cannot be openly carried in the state. 

Yes, private-party sales are still legal in Connecticut. But, a background check has to be completed for every firearms transaction in the state, and, if the gun in question is a pistol, the buyer has to have a Pistol Permit.

Yes. Most modern semi automatic rifles and shotguns are banned in the state, as are magazines with a capacity greater than ten.

Almost certainly not. Because the state requires that ammunition buyers have a permit to purchase ammo, most sellers, especially those out of state, do not want to be responsible for maintaining records of said permits, and thus simply choose not to sell ammunition online in the state. Buying ammunition in person in CT is the simpler option for most people: also, the Pistol Permit doubles as the ammunition permit in the state.