Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 591

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5540

House of Representatives, April 19, 2018

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING GHOST GUNS.

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

Section 1. Section 53a-3 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

Except where different meanings are expressly specified, the following terms have the following meanings when used in this title:

(1) "Person" means a human being, and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, a limited liability company, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a government or a governmental instrumentality;

(2) "Possess" means to have physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over tangible property;

(3) "Physical injury" means impairment of physical condition or pain;

(4) "Serious physical injury" means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ;

(5) "Deadly physical force" means physical force which can be reasonably expected to cause death or serious physical injury;

(6) "Deadly weapon" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles. The definition of "deadly weapon" in this subdivision shall be deemed not to apply to section 29-38 or 53-206;

(7) "Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury, and includes a "vehicle", as that term is defined in this section, and includes a dog that has been commanded to attack, except a dog owned by a law enforcement agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or of the federal government when such dog is in the performance of its duties under the direct supervision, care and control of an assigned law enforcement officer;

(8) "Vehicle" means a "motor vehicle", as defined in section 14-1, a snowmobile, any aircraft, or any vessel equipped for propulsion by mechanical means or sail;

(9) "Peace officer" means a member of the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or an organized local police department, a chief inspector or inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice, a state marshal while exercising authority granted under any provision of the general statutes, a judicial marshal in the performance of the duties of a judicial marshal, a conservation officer or special conservation officer, as defined in section 26-5, a constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties, a special policeman appointed under section 29-18, 29-18a or 29-19, an adult probation officer, an official of the Department of Correction authorized by the Commissioner of Correction to make arrests in a correctional institution or facility, any investigator in the investigations unit of the office of the State Treasurer, a United States marshal or deputy marshal, any special agent of the federal government authorized to enforce the provisions of Title 21 of the United States Code, or a member of a law enforcement unit of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe or the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut created and governed by a memorandum of agreement under section 47-65c who is certified as a police officer by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council pursuant to sections 7-294a to 7-294e, inclusive;

(10) "Firefighter" means any agent of a municipality whose duty it is to protect life and property therein as a member of a duly constituted fire department whether professional or volunteer;

(11) A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense when his conscious objective is to cause such result or to engage in such conduct;

(12) A person acts "knowingly" with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware that his conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance exists;

(13) A person acts "recklessly" with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregarding it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation;

(14) A person acts with "criminal negligence" with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation;

(15) "Machine gun" means a weapon of any description, irrespective of size, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged from a magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a submachine gun;

(16) "Rifle" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger;

(17) "Shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger;

(18) "Pistol" or "revolver" means any firearm having a barrel less than twelve inches;

(19) "Firearm" means any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded from which a shot may be discharged, and any unfinished "frame or lower receiver", as that term is defined in this section;

(20) "Electronic defense weapon" means a weapon which by electronic impulse or current is capable of immobilizing a person temporarily, but is not capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury, including a stun gun or other conductive energy device;

(21) "Martial arts weapon" means a nunchaku, kama, kasari-fundo, octagon sai, tonfa or chinese star;

(22) "Employee of an emergency medical service organization" means an ambulance driver, emergency medical technician or paramedic, as defined in section 19a-175;

(23) "Railroad property" means all tangible property owned, leased or operated by a railroad carrier including, but not limited to, a right-of-way, track, roadbed, bridge, yard, shop, station, tunnel, viaduct, trestle, depot, warehouse, terminal or any other structure or appurtenance or equipment owned, leased or used in the operation of a railroad carrier including a train, locomotive, engine, railroad car, signals or safety device or work equipment or rolling stock;

(24) "Frame or lower receiver" means the part of a firearm that provides the action or housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock and firing mechanism, and includes a frame or lower receiver blank, casting or machined body that requires further machining or molding to be used as part of a functional firearm, and which is designed and intended to be used in the "assembly", as that term is defined in section 29-36, as amended by this act, of a functional firearm.

Sec. 2. Section 29-36 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) No individual shall complete the manufacture or assembly of a firearm without (1) obtaining a unique serial number or other mark of identification from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection pursuant to section 3 of this act, and (2) engraving upon or permanently affixing to the firearm such serial number or other mark in a manner that conforms with the requirements imposed on licensed importers and licensed manufacturers of firearms pursuant to 18 USC 923(i), as amended from time to time, and any regulation adopted thereunder.

(b) No individual shall complete the manufacture or assembly of any firearm from polymer plastic, unless such plastic is embedded with three point seven ounces of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel and such firearm is engraved or otherwise marked with a unique serial number or other mark of identification pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Not later than thirty days after an individual completes manufacturing or assembling a firearm pursuant to this section, such individual shall notify the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and provide any identifying information to said department concerning the firearm and the owner of such firearm, in a manner provided by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

[(a)] (d) No [person] individual shall remove, deface, alter or obliterate the name of any maker or model or any maker's number, unique serial number or other mark of identification on any firearm. [as defined in section 53a-3.] The possession of any firearm upon which any identifying mark, number or name has been removed, defaced, altered or obliterated shall be prima facie evidence that the [person] individual owning or in possession of such firearm has removed, defaced, altered or obliterated the same.

(e) No individual shall transfer to another individual any firearm manufactured or assembled in accordance with this section, except as provided in subdivision (2) of subsection (f) of this section.

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (1) manufacture or assembly of firearms by a federally licensed firearm manufacturer, or (2) delivery or transfer of a firearm to a law enforcement agency. Any firearm delivered or transferred to a law enforcement agency pursuant to this subsection shall be destroyed by the law enforcement agency.

(g) No individual shall knowingly facilitate, aid or abet the manufacture or assembly of a firearm pursuant to this section by an individual or for an individual who is otherwise prohibited by law from owning or possessing a firearm.

[(b)] (h) Any [person] individual who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class C felony for which two years of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced by the court, and five thousand dollars of the fine imposed may not be remitted or reduced by the court unless the court states on the record its reasons for remitting or reducing such fine, and any firearm found in the possession of any [person] individual in violation of said provision shall be forfeited.

(i) For purposes of this section, "manufacture" means to newly fabricate or construct a firearm, "assembly" means the fitting together of the component parts of a firearm to construct a firearm, "firearm" means firearm, as defined in section 53a-3, as amended by this act, and "law enforcement agency" means law enforcement agency, as defined in section 29-1i.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall develop and maintain a system to distribute a unique serial number or other mark of identification to any individual requesting such number or mark in accordance with section 29-36 of the general statutes, as amended by this act. The department shall maintain identifying information of the individual requesting the number or mark and of the firearm for which each such number or mark is requested.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

53a-3

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

29-36

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 2(a), an extraneous word was deleted and at the end of Section 2(f)(2), "by the law enforcement agency" was added for clarity.

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

GF - Cost

Less than 10,000

Less than 10,000

Judicial Dept. (Probation); Correction, Dept.

GF - Potential Cost

Minimal

Minimal

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

There is a cost expected to be less than $10,000 to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) resulting from the bill, which requires DESPP develop and maintain a system for providing serial numbers for ghost guns. The agency would likely have to modify an existing agreement with the third party vendor that currently provides services related to firearm serial numbers, resulting in a minimal cost.

The bill also expands the felony of alteration of a firearm and results in a potential cost or potential revenue gain. To extent that violators are prosecuted, the bill results in a potential cost to the Department of Correction for incarceration or Judicial Department for probation supervision. As of January 2018, there are 19 offenders incarcerated for the current offense and approximately 11 on probation. On average, the marginal cost to the state for incarcerating an offender for the year is $1,9001 while the average marginal cost for supervision in the community is less than $7002 each year.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5540

AN ACT CONCERNING GHOST GUNS.

SUMMARY

This bill subjects a firearm's unfinished “frame or lower receiver” to existing firearm regulation and restrictions by broadening the current definition of “firearm” to include them.

Under the bill, a “frame or lower receiver” means the part of the firearm that provides the action or housing for the hammer, bolt, or breechblock and firing mechanism. It includes a frame or lower receiver blank, casting, or machined body that requires further machining or molding to be used as part of a functional firearm, and which is designed and intended to be used to assemble a functional firearm (i.e., fit together a firearm's component parts to construct the firearm).

With the exception of firearm manufacturers, the bill also:

Under the bill, anyone who violates the bill's provisions related to (1) manufacturing or assembling firearms, (2) transferring such firearms, or (3) removing a firearm's serial number, is guilty of a class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. Two years of the sentence may not be suspended or reduced by the court and $5,000 may not be remitted or reduced. Any firearm found in violation of the bill must be forfeited.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018 except the provision requiring DESPP to create a system to distribute serial numbers is effective upon passage.

FIREARM REGULATION AND RESTRICTIONS

By adding unfinished frames and lower receivers to the definition of “firearm”, the bill subjects such parts to the regulations and restrictions of pistols and revolvers (i.e., handgun) or long guns, depending on the barrel length. By law, a handgun is a firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches, while a long gun is a firearm other than a handgun.

Among other things, existing law generally prohibits:

Additionally, the (1) frame or lower receiver would also be subject to temporary seizure or revocation under certain circumstances (e.g., when a family violence crime has been committed or person is an imminent threat to hurt him or herself or others) and (2) owner's firearm credential may be subject to revocation or nonrenewal for, among other things, committing certain crimes (CGS 29-32, 29-38c, & 46b-38b(a)).

MANUFACTURE OR ASSEMBLY OF A FIREARM

The bill prohibits anyone from completing the manufacture or assembly of a firearm without (1) first obtaining a unique serial number or other identification mark from DESPP and (2) engraving or permanently affixing the serial number or mark on the firearm in a way that conforms to the serial number requirements federal law and associated regulations impose on licensed firearm importers and manufacturers.

Under the bill, within 30 days of completing the manufacture or assembly of a firearm, the individual must notify DESPP and provide any identifying information concerning the firearm and the owner to the department in a manner the DESPP commissioner provides.

Under the bill, “manufacture” means to newly fabricate or construct a firearm and “assembly” means the fitting together of the firearm's component parts to construct a firearm.

DESPP System

Under the bill, DESPP must develop and maintain a system to distribute a unique serial number or other identification mark to anyone requesting one. DESPP must maintain identifying information of the individual requesting the number or mark.

Transfers to Law Enforcement

The bill generally prohibits anyone from transferring such manufactured or assembled firearms, except when delivering or transferring them to a law enforcement agency. A law enforcement agency must destroy any firearm delivered or transferred to it.

Under the bill, “law enforcement agency” means the State Police or any municipal police department.

Exemption

The bill's requirements regarding serial numbers and identification marks do not apply to federally licensed firearm manufacturers manufacturing or assembling firearms.

ALTERATIONS

Current law prohibits individuals from removing, defacing, altering, or obliterating any maker's name, model, number, or other identifying mark on a firearm. The bill extends the prohibition to unique serial numbers. As under current law, possessing a firearm with an altered serial number is prima facie evidence that the individual owning or possessing the firearm has altered the firearm.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

25

Nay

16

(04/03/2018)

TOP

1 Inmate marginal cost is based on increased consumables (e.g. food, clothing, water, sewage, living supplies, etc.) This does not include a change in staffing costs or utility expenses because these would only be realized if a unit or facility opened.

2 Probation marginal cost is based on services provided by private providers and only includes costs that increase with each additional participant. This does not include a cost for additional supervision by a probation officer unless a new offense is anticipated to result in enough additional offenders to require additional probation officers.