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Open carry ban is among new gun safety proposals from Lamont

Molly Ingram
WSHU Public Radio

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has proposed a ban on the open carry of firearms. It’s part of a series of measures that he said would help eliminate gun violence in the state.

He cited uncertainty around Connecticut's current open carry laws as a reason to place a flat ban on public open carry laws.

“Somebody's provocatively carrying a weapon into a public place now and you ask whether they've got the permission to do it,” Lamont said. “It's illegal. We're gonna ban open carry of weapons in these public places ”

Lamont also proposed limiting personal handgun sales to one gun purchase per month, updating the states ban on unregistered ghost guns, and investing an additional $2.5 million in community violence intervention programs.

Lamont said concealed carry would still be allowed for those with a permit, except in certain places — like bars, school grounds, or the house of the state General Assembly.

“National statistics show that Connecticut remains one of the safest states in the country and violent crime has been decreasing here over the last several years, but even one shooting is one too many,” Lamont said. “It’s our responsibility to implement policies that keep our homes and our neighborhoods safe, and we have to take every opportunity to keep our residents protected.”

The proposals, which will be presented to lawmakers in February, drew criticism from Connecticut’s Republican leaders.

House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said the laws should focus on the perpetrators of violence — not the weapons they use.

"Any 'common sense' proposal that fails to send a strong message to criminals while ignoring the prohibition on police performing consent searches of motor vehicles to find illegal guns and drugs is simply off course," Candelora said.

Connecticut’s new proposals were announced in the wake of a court decision in New York that blocked certain aspects of the state's Concealed Carry Improvement Act. Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong joined 15 AG’s in support of the act, asking a higher court to reverse the decision.

“Commonsense public safety restrictions are constitutional and necessary. New York’s concealed carry regulations are reasonable measures needed to protect the public from gun violence, and they should be upheld,” Tong said.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.