Current Law

Sec. 29-37i: Responsibilities re storage of loaded firearms.

Summary: Gun owners must safely secure loaded firearms in premises under their control if 1) a minor under the age 16 is likely to get access without their parent’s permission, 2) when a resident is prohibited from possessing firearms or 3) when a resident poses a risk of imminent harm to himself or others.

Statue Language: No person shall store or keep any loaded firearm on any premises under such person’s control if such person knows or reasonably should know that (1) a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor, (2) a resident of the premises is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law, or (3) a resident of the premises poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, unless such person (A) keeps the firearm in a securely locked box or other container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure, or (B) carries the firearm on his or her person or within such close proximity thereto that such person can readily retrieve and use the firearm as if such person carried the firearm on his or her person. For the purposes of this section, “minor” means any person under the age of sixteen years.

Sec. 52-571g: Strict liability of person who fails to securely store a loaded firearm.

Summary: A person is strictly liable when anyone is injured or killed because the gun owner violated section 29-371.

Statue Language: Any person whose act or omission constitutes a violation of section 29-37i shall be strictly liable for damages when a minor or, a resident of the premises who is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law or who poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, obtains a firearm, as defined in section 53a-3, and causes the injury or death of such minor, resident or any other person. For the purposes of this section, “minor” means any person under the age of sixteen years.

Sec. 53a-217a: Criminally negligent storage of a firearm: Class D felony.

Summary: A person is guilty of criminally negligent storage of a firearm, a class D felony, when anyone is injured or killed because the gun owner violated section 29-371.

Statue Language: (a) A person is guilty of criminally negligent storage of a firearm when such person violates the provisions of section 29-37i and a minor or, a resident of the premises who is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law or who poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, obtains the firearm and causes the injury or death of such minor, resident or any other person. For the purposes of this section, “minor” means any person under the age of sixteen years.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry to any premises by any person.
(c) Criminally negligent storage of a firearm is a class D felony.

Legislative History

• What was formerly Sec. 29-37c was transferred to Sec. 29-37i in 1993, meaning CT has had some form of safe storage requirement since at least 1993.

• Public Act 13-3, the package gun safety reforms (SB-1160) passed in 2013 after the Sandy Hook School shooting made section 29-37i applicable to two additional groups: residents ineligible to possess firearms and residents who pose a risk of imminent harm to self or others.

• In 2015 An Act Concerning Firearm Safety was raised as HB-6962 in the Judiciary Committee. It got as far as a public hearing before dying in Committee without a vote. It attempted to extend the provisions of section 29-37i to unloaded firearms, and to make the owner liable regardless of who gained access to the gun and shot or killed someone.

Proposed Language: To amend provisions concerning the safe storage of firearms and associated liability and penalties to be applicable to the storage of unloaded firearms and to extend liability to any person, rather than just minors or residents ineligible to possess a firearm, and to provide for additional oversight by the court governing the return of firearms or ammunition seized from a person considered to present a risk of imminent physical danger to himself or herself or another.

For further information on existing statutes, see CT Judicial Branch Law Libraries, CT Laws about Firearms.