June 25, 1998 98-R-0803
FROM: Lawrence K. Furbish, Assistant Director
RE: Dangerous Weapons Provisions of the Handgun Act, PA 98-129
You asked for an explanation of the dangerous weapons provisions of PA 98-129, An Act Concerning Handgun Safety.
Bill 6001, which was passed on June 22 during the Special Session, among other things, repealed those portions of PA 98-129 concerning dangerous weapons thereby assuring that the dangerous weapons permit system, which was scheduled to go out of existence on October 1, 1998 under PA 98-129, will continue. Under current law and the bill, it is illegal to carry dangerous weapons on one's person or in a car without a permit issued by the appropriate local official. PA 98-129 would have (1) repealed the permit provision and made carrying such weapons illegal and (2) changed the exceptions that allowed dangerous weapons to be carried by certain people or in certain circumstances. Bill 6001 also reinstates provisions repealed by the act governing applications for a permit to carry dangerous weapons and requiring people selling dangerous weapons to notify local officials of the sale in writing within 24 hours. These provisions of the bill take effect upon passage.
Current law defines a dangerous weapon as a: (1) slung shot; (2) air rifle; (3) BB gun; (4) blackjack; (5) sand bag; (6) metal or brass knuckles; (7) dirk knife, switch blade, or other knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one half inches in length; (8) a stiletto or other knife with a blade edge over four inches long; (9) a martial arts weapon; (10) an electronic defense weapon; and (11) any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument. PA 98-129 would have removed slung shots, air rifles, and sand bags from the list.
PERMIT TO CARRY ON PERSON
Under current law and the bill, a person can carry a dangerous weapon within a town or borough if he has obtained a written permit issued and signed by the first selectman of the town, the mayor or police chief of the city, or the warden of the borough. The issuing authority can ask for the applicant's fingerprints and information about his criminal record and can investigate his suitability to carry such a weapon. A convicted felon cannot be issued a permit. PA 98-129 would have repealed the permit process and thus made carrying dangerous weapons illegal.
Under current law and the bill, the permit requirement does not apply to: (1) a peace officer, (2) someone moving a weapon as part of his household goods from one place to another, and (3) someone bringing a weapon to or from a repair shop. Also, anyone granted a permit to carry a martial arts weapon can carry it anywhere in the state. PA 98-129 would have limited the exemption for peace officers to times when they are engaged in official duties. It also would have restricted the exemptions in (2) and (3) for people transporting weapons to knives with blade edges four inches or longer, thus prohibiting transporting other types of dangerous weapons under any circumstances. It would have additionally exempted from the four-inch knife ban (1) members of the U.S. armed forces and reserves when on or going to or from duty; (2) members of military organizations when on parade or going to or from a place of assembly; (3) someone transporting such a knife as merchandise; and (4) people with valid hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses or salt water fishermen who are engaged in such lawful activities. It would have repealed the provision concerning carrying a martial arts weapon anywhere in the state.
DANGEROUS WEAPONS IN MOTOR VEHICLES
By law it is illegal to knowingly have handguns, machine guns, and certain dangerous weapons in an automobile without the proper registration or permit. Under current law and the bill, the dangerous weapons covered are the same as those in the carrying-on-the-person law except air rifles, BB guns, and electronic defense weapons are not included. PA 98-129 would have added BB guns and electronic defense weapons to the list, but not air rifles because the act would have removed them from regulation as dangerous weapons. The act also would have repealed an exemption that allowed people enrolled in and currently attending a martial arts school to carry martial arts weapons in their automobile while traveling to and from school. Finally, the act would have exempted people carrying a knife with a four-inch blade edge under the same circumstances as those covered under the carrying-on-the-person law as described above.