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Substitute House Bill No. 5692

Public Act No. 02-120

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SEIZURE OF FIREARMS IN FAMILY VIOLENCE CASES, THE TRANSFER OF FIREARMS BY PERSONS INELIGIBLE TO POSSESS SUCH FIREARMS AND THE POSSESSION OF CERTAIN ASSAULT WEAPONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 46b-38b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

(a) Whenever a peace officer determines upon speedy information that a family violence crime, as defined in subdivision (3) of section 46b-38a, except a family violence crime involving a dating relationship, has been committed within such officer's jurisdiction, such officer shall arrest the person or persons suspected of its commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime. The decision to arrest and charge shall not (1) be dependent on the specific consent of the victim, (2) consider the relationship of the parties, or (3) be based solely on a request by the victim. Whenever a peace officer [makes an arrest under this subsection] determines that a family violence crime has been committed, such officer may seize any firearm at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any [such] person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. Not later than [forty-eight hours] seven days after any such seizure, the law enforcement agency shall return such firearm in its original condition to the rightful owner thereof unless such person is ineligible to possess such firearm or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Sec. 2. Section 29-36n of the general statutes, as amended by section 14 of public act 01-130, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

(a) The Commissioner of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Chief State's Attorney and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, shall develop a protocol to ensure that persons who become ineligible to possess a pistol or revolver have, in accordance with section 29-36k, transferred such pistol or revolver to a person eligible to possess such pistol or revolver or have delivered or surrendered such pistol or revolver to said commissioner.

(b) The Commissioner of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Chief State's Attorney and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, shall update the protocol developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to reflect the provisions of [this act] public act 01-130 and shall include in such protocol specific instructions for the transfer of pistols and revolvers when the assistance of more than one law enforcement agency is necessary to effect the requirements of section 29-36k.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) For the purposes of sections 3 and 4 of this act and subsection (a) of section 53-202c of the general statutes, as amended by this act, "specified assault weapon" means any of the following firearms: Auto-Ordnance Thompson type, Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type, or MAC-10, MAC-11 and MAC-11 Carbine type.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of section 53-202c of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall not apply to any person who (1) in good faith purchased or otherwise obtained title to a specified assault weapon on or after October 1, 1993, and prior to May 8, 2002, in compliance with any state and federal laws concerning the purchase or transfer of firearms, (2) is not otherwise disqualified or prohibited from possessing such specified assault weapon, and (3) has notified the Department of Public Safety in accordance with subsection (c) of this section prior to October 1, 2003, that he or she possesses such specified assault weapon.

(c) A person complies with the notice requirement of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section if such person provides the Department of Public Safety with: (1) A copy of the proof of purchase for such specified assault weapon, and (2) one of the following: (A) A copy of state form DPS-3 with respect to such specified assault weapon, (B) a copy of federal ATF Form 4473 with respect to such specified assault weapon, or (C) a sworn affidavit from such person that such specified assault weapon was purchased in compliance with any state and federal laws concerning the purchase or transfer of firearms; except that, if such person does not have a copy of the proof of purchase for such specified assault weapon, such person may satisfy the requirement of subdivision (1) of this subsection by, not later than January 1, 2003, providing such information as the department may require on a form prescribed by the department together with a sworn affidavit from such person that such specified assault weapon was purchased in compliance with any state and federal laws concerning the purchase or transfer of firearms.

(d) Any person who is a member of the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States and is unable to meet the notice requirements of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) and of subsection (c) of this section by October 1, 2003, because such person is or was on official duty outside this state, may file such notice within ninety days of returning to the state.

(e) As proof that a person has complied with the notice requirement of this section and that such notice has been received by the Department of Public Safety, the department shall issue a certificate of possession for such specified assault weapon. Such certificate shall contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, and the full name, address and date of birth of the owner.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) In any prosecution for a violation of section 53-202c of the general statutes, as amended by this act, based on the possession by the defendant of a specified assault weapon, it shall be an affirmative defense that the defendant (1) in good faith purchased or otherwise obtained title to such specified assault weapon on or after October 1, 1993, and prior to May 8, 2002, in compliance with any state and federal laws concerning the purchase or transfer of firearms, (2) is not otherwise disqualified or prohibited from possessing such specified assault weapon, and (3) has possessed such specified assault weapon in compliance with subsection (d) of section 53-202d of the general statutes.

(b) In any such prosecution, if such defendant proves such affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence, the specified assault weapon shall be returned to such defendant upon such defendant notifying the Department of Public Safety in accordance with subdivision (3) of subsection (b) and of subsection (c) of section 3 of this act and obtaining a certificate of possession, provided such notification is made not later than October 1, 2003.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 53-202c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Except as provided in section 53-202e, any person who, within this state, possesses any assault weapon, except as provided in sections 29-37j and 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, [and] subsection (h) of section 53a-46a and section 4 of this act, shall be guilty of a class D felony and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of which one year may not be suspended or reduced; except that a first-time violation of this subsection shall be a class A misdemeanor if (1) the person presents proof that he lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993, and (2) the person has otherwise possessed the firearm in compliance with subsection (d) of section 53-202d.

Sec. 6. Section 29-36k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Not later than two business days after the occurrence of any event that makes a person ineligible to possess a pistol or revolver or other firearm, such person shall (1) transfer in accordance with section 29-33 all pistols and revolvers which [he] such person then possesses to any person eligible to possess a pistol or revolver and transfer in accordance with any applicable state and federal laws all other firearms to any person eligible to possess such other firearms by obtaining an authorization number for the sale or transfer of the firearm from the Commissioner of Public Safety, and submit a sale or transfer of firearms form to said commissioner within two business days, or (2) deliver or surrender such pistols and revolvers and other firearms to the Commissioner of Public Safety. The commissioner shall exercise due care in the receipt and holding of such pistols and revolvers and other firearms.

(b) Such person, or [his] such person's legal representative, may, at any time up to one year after such delivery or surrender, transfer such pistols and revolvers in accordance with the provisions of section 29-33 to any person eligible to possess a pistol or revolver and transfer such other firearms in accordance with any applicable state and federal laws to any person eligible to possess such other firearms. Upon notification in writing by the transferee and such person, the Commissioner of Public Safety shall within ten days deliver such pistols and revolvers or other firearms to the transferee. If, at the end of such year, such pistols and revolvers or other firearms have not been so transferred, the commissioner shall cause them to be destroyed.

(c) Any person who fails to transfer or surrender any such pistols and revolvers and other firearms as provided in this section shall be subject to the penalty provided for in section 53a-217 or 53a-217c.

Approved June 7, 2002