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Hartford gun crime defense attorneyFirearms have been a part of American history for as long as the United States has been a country. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically gives American people the right to own firearms, but with the invention of new weapon technologies, more laws are being enacted each year. Gun owners should be sure to understand how changing laws will affect them in order to avoid facing weapons charges.

The latest gun safety law was passed in both the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives this past month. The bill, dubbed “Ethan’s Law,” was named in memory of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old Guilford boy who accidentally shot himself to death with a firearm that was easily accessible while at a friend’s house

Bill Calls for Gun Storage Changes

The biggest change to Connecticut’s firearm laws is the way that firearms must be stored. Prior to the passage of Ethan’s Law, the criminal liability a person had when a child accessed their firearms only applied if the firearm was loaded, and the child was able to gain access to the weapon. Under the new bill, a person must keep firearms in a securely locked box or in another secure manner if a minor under the age of 18 is likely to gain access to the firearm -- regardless of whether or not the firearm is loaded.

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gun, Connecticut weapons charges lawyerA former Connecticut police officer was sitting at home minding his own business when five state troopers arrived with a warrant to seize all of his legally-owned firearms. The 76-year-old man had committed no crime, had no history of violence, was not under arrest, and was not being charged, but the state police still seized more than 80 guns from the man’s home pursuant to a Firearm Safety Warrant. Connecticut is one of just five states to allow this type of controversial warrant, though many more are considering them in light of recent tragedies involving gun violence.

Firearm Safety Warrants

In 1999, the Connecticut Legislature passed what lawmakers called “risk warrant” legislation. The law allows courts to issue firearm seizure warrants based on reports from the general public that a person (gun owner) poses an immediate threat of personal injury to themselves or others. The subject of such a warrant does not need to have broken any laws in order for the seizure to be conducted. The police can hold seized firearms for up to two weeks while a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, a judge then determines the status of the guns. Some are returned to the owner immediately, others are held for up to one year, and a small number are forfeited and sold or destroyed.

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