Gun control and Second Amendment rights are an important political topic right now, but the debate over them often obscures other laws about dangerous weapons. Connecticut law ordinarily forbids people from carrying dangerous weapons, but that alone does not provide a clear picture of the law. For instance, not everything that could intuitively be a dangerous weapon actually falls under the law. Instead, the law itself provides a specific list of forbidden types of weapons. The law also includes a list of exceptions where the carrying of certain weapons or by certain people is allowed.
What Dangerous Weapons Are
Dangerous weapons are a broad category that the law breaks down into a list:
- Specific types of knives, such as dirks, stilettos, switchblades with a blade longer than one and a half inches, and any knife with a blade longer than four inches;
- Batons, nightsticks, and blackjacks;
- Brass knuckles;
- BB guns;
- Martial arts weapons, like throwing stars and nunchaku; and
- Electronic defense weapons, which are weapons that immobilize people using an electric current, like a stun gun.
The law also adds at the end of the list a catchall category of “any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument,” to ensure that unsafe items that did not make the list can still fall under the law.
The law prohibits the carrying of these types of deadly weapons on a person, and it imposes severe penalties for a violation. A person found carrying one of these weapons can be convicted of a felony, fined $500 and can face up to three years in prison. The law also punishes knowingly keeping a deadly weapon in a vehicle. The penalties for this are even more severe, with the possibility of a $1,000 fine and a five year prison sentence.
Exceptions to the Law
Because the legislature wrote the dangerous weapon law so broadly, they also included a variety of exceptions to it for specific circumstances. For instance, the law exempts peace officers from the law when on duty, and it similarly allows security guards to carry nightsticks or batons. The law also makes numerous exceptions for people to carry long knives, knives with edged blades more than four inches. People may carry such knives if they are: members of the armed forces or reservists who are on duty or on parade; transporting the knives to an authorized knife show; moving to a new house; taking the knives to be repaired; participating in a historical reenactment; or are licensed hunters, fishers or trappers using the knife in those activities.
Additionally, the law exempts other weapons for certain activities. BB guns are allowed if the people are traveling to or from an authorized competition, such as a scouting event. Martial arts weapons are allowed for people who are students or instructors traveling to classes or competitions.
If you have recently been charged with carrying a dangerous weapon and believe you were doing so lawfully, contact a Hartford criminal defense attorney at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. Our firm is here to help ensure that your rights are respected.