Connecticut General Statutes 29-38c – Seizure of firearms and ammunition from person posing risk of imminent personal injury to self or others
(a) Upon complaint on oath by any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney or by any two police officers, to any judge of the Superior Court, that such state’s attorney or police officers have probable cause to believe that (1) a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, (2) such person possesses one or more firearms, and (3) such firearm or firearms are within or upon any place, thing or person, such judge may issue a warrant commanding a proper officer to enter into or upon such place or thing, search the same or the person and take into such officer’s custody any and all firearms and ammunition. Such state’s attorney or police officers shall not make such complaint unless such state’s attorney or police officers have conducted an independent investigation and have determined that such probable cause exists and that there is no reasonable alternative available to prevent such person from causing imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to others with such firearm.
Terms Used In Connecticut General Statutes 29-38c
- Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
- Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
(b) A warrant may issue only on affidavit sworn to by the complainant or complainants before the judge and establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant, which affidavit shall be part of the seizure file. In determining whether grounds for the application exist or whether there is probable cause to believe they exist, the judge shall consider: (1) Recent threats or acts of violence by such person directed toward other persons; (2) recent threats or acts of violence by such person directed toward himself or herself; and (3) recent acts of cruelty to animals as provided in subsection (b) of § 53-247 by such person. In evaluating whether such recent threats or acts of violence constitute probable cause to believe that such person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to others, the judge may consider other factors including, but not limited to (A) the reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm by such person, (B) a history of the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force by such person against other persons, (C) prior involuntary confinement of such person in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities, and (D) the illegal use of controlled substances or abuse of alcohol by such person. If the judge is satisfied that the grounds for the application exist or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, such judge shall issue a warrant naming or describing the person, place or thing to be searched. The warrant shall be directed to any police officer of a regularly organized police department or any state police officer. It shall state the grounds or probable cause for its issuance and it shall command the officer to search within a reasonable time the person, place or thing named for any and all firearms and ammunition. A copy of the warrant shall be given to the person named therein together with a notice informing the person that such person has the right to a hearing under this section and the right to be represented by counsel at such hearing.
(c) The applicant for the warrant shall file a copy of the application for the warrant and all affidavits upon which the warrant is based with the clerk of the court for the geographical area within which the search will be conducted no later than the next business day following the execution of the warrant. Prior to the execution and return of the warrant, the clerk of the court shall not disclose any information pertaining to the application for the warrant or any affidavits upon which the warrant is based. The warrant shall be executed and returned with reasonable promptness consistent with due process of law and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of all firearms and ammunition seized.
(d) Not later than fourteen days after the execution of a warrant under this section, the court for the geographical area where the person named in the warrant resides shall hold a hearing to determine whether the firearm or firearms and any ammunition seized should be returned to the person named in the warrant or should continue to be held by the state. At such hearing the state shall have the burden of proving all material facts by clear and convincing evidence. If, after such hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, the court may order that the firearm or firearms and any ammunition seized pursuant to the warrant issued under subsection (a) of this section continue to be held by the state for a period not to exceed one year, otherwise the court shall order the firearm or firearms and any ammunition seized to be returned to the person named in the warrant. If the court finds that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, the court shall give notice to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services which may take such action pursuant to chapter 319i as it deems appropriate.
(e) Any person whose firearm or firearms and ammunition have been ordered seized pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, or such person’s legal representative, may transfer such firearm or firearms and ammunition in accordance with the provisions of § 29-33 or other applicable state or federal law, to any person eligible to possess such firearm or firearms and ammunition. Upon notification in writing by such person, or such person’s legal representative, and the transferee, the head of the state agency holding such seized firearm or firearms and ammunition shall within ten days deliver such firearm or firearms and ammunition to the transferee.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “ammunition” means a loaded cartridge, consisting of a primed case, propellant or projectile, designed for use in any firearm.