A firearms seizure order is a court order that takes away a person’s access to firearms and ammunition.
What is allowed under the firearms seizure law?
The firearms seizure law allows a state’s attorney, an assistant state’s attorney, or any two police officers to file a complaint for seizure (removal) of a person’s firearms or ammunition when they have probable cause to believe that:
- a person poses a risk of immediate personal injury to himself, herself or others; and
- the person has one or more firearms (which can either be on the person or located in another place).*
The state's attorney, assistant state's attorney, or the police officers may have probable cause when they have good reasons to believe there is a risk of injury and the person has firearms.
* Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a)</p>
Who can get a firearms seizure order?
Only a state’s attorney, an assistant state’s attorney, or two law enforcement officers must file the complaint for removal of a person’s firearms or ammunition.*
If you are a person who is concerned about the safety of someone else but cannot file to have his/her firearms removed, you may be able to speak to police or the state's attorney's office to let them know of your concern and ask that they file a complaint to have the firearms removed.
* Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a)
How will a judge decide whether to order seizure of a person’s firearms?
When a judge is deciding whether a person’s firearms should be seized (removed), the judge must consider many factors, including the person’s:
- recent threats or acts of violence towards other people;
- recent threats or acts of violence towards himself/herself; and
- recent acts of cruelty to animals.*
When deciding if these recent threats or acts of violence give the judge probable cause to believe that a person is at a risk of immediate personal injury to himself/herself or others, the judge can consider other factors, including the person’s:
- reckless (irresponsible) use, display, or flaunting of a firearm;
- history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against other people;
- prior involuntary commitment in a hospital for people with psychiatric disabilities; and
- illegal use of controlled substances (drugs) or abuse of alcohol.*
* Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(b)
For how long can a person’s firearms be removed?
When law enforcement gets a warrant and removes a person’s firearms, law enforcement can keep the firearms for 14 days. During the 14-day period, the judge must hold a hearing to decide whether the firearms and ammunition should be returned to the person named in the warrant or not. If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is at immediate risk of personal injury to himself/herself or others, the judge may order law enforcement to continue to hold the firearms and ammunition for up to one year.*
* Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(d)