Unconcealed [Open] Carry
There is a lot of hype and misinformation in circulation that Connecticut law 'intends'
for permit holder's firearm to remain concealed and that officers are free to make
arrests for breach of peace or disorderly conduct.
The Connecticut General Statutes do not prescribe any method of carry, either concealed
or otherwise. There is no valid charge in the Connecticut General Statutes that
someone can be arrested for when a person is simply carrying a properly holstered
The most relevant statute on the matter is CGS 29-35. Please note that it does not
mention concealment or any manner of carry anywhere inside of it.
Carrying of pistol or revolver without permit prohibited. Exceptions.
(a) No person shall carry any pistol or revolver upon his or her person, except
when such person is within the dwelling house or place of business of such person,
without a permit to carry the same issued as provided in section 29-28. The provisions
of this subsection shall not apply to the carrying of any pistol or revolver by
any parole officer or peace officer of this state, or parole officer or peace officer
of any other state while engaged in the pursuit of official duties, or federal marshal
or federal law enforcement agent, or to any member of the armed forces of the United
States, as defined in section 27-103, or of this state, as defined in section 27-2,
when on duty or going to or from duty, or to any member of any military organization
when on parade or when going to or from any place of assembly, or to the transportation
of pistols or revolvers as merchandise, or to any person transporting any pistol
or revolver while contained in the package in which it was originally wrapped at
the time of sale and while transporting the same from the place of sale to the purchaser's
residence or place of business, or to any person removing such person's household
goods or effects from one place to another, or to any person while transporting
any such pistol or revolver from such person's place of residence or business to
a place or individual where or by whom such pistol or revolver is to be repaired
or while returning to such person's place of residence or business after the same
has been repaired, or to any person transporting a pistol or revolver in or through
the state for the purpose of taking part in competitions, taking part in formal
pistol or revolver training, repairing such pistol or revolver or attending any
meeting or exhibition of an organized collectors' group if such person is a bona
fide resident of the United States and is permitted to possess and carry a pistol
or revolver in the state or subdivision of the United States in which such person
resides, or to any person transporting a pistol or revolver to and from a testing
range at the request of the issuing authority, or to any person transporting an
antique pistol or revolver, as defined in section 29-33. For the purposes of this
subsection, "formal pistol or revolver training" means pistol or revolver training
at a locally approved or permitted firing range or training facility, and "transporting
a pistol or revolver" means transporting a pistol or revolver that is unloaded and,
if such pistol or revolver is being transported in a motor vehicle, is not readily
accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle
or, if such pistol or revolver is being transported in a motor vehicle that does
not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, such pistol or revolver
shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the carrying of a pistol
or revolver during formal pistol or revolver training or repair.
"What if someone panics or is alarmed?"
Many citizens are told by confused law enforcement officials that they could be
charged if they ‘cause alarm’. Please stop and think for a moment what an officer
might charge a citizen lawfully carrying a firearm unconcealed with.
Let's assume breach of peace (this is a common one among police officers in Connecticut).
Here is the statute for breach of peace:
Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor.
(a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent
to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof,
such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior
in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit
any crime against another person or such other person's property; or (4) publicly
exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive
matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene
language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically
offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to
do. For purposes of this section, "public place" means any area that is used or
held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
When we break this down, we have (a) which says a breach of the
peace occurs when you intend to create annoyance or alarm by one of the following:
- Fighting or being violent or threatening. (Obviously does not apply)
- Assaults or strikes another. (Same)
- Threatens to commit any crime (Same)
- Uses abusive or obscene language (Same)
And then there is the last clause which I would argue also does not apply, but even
if one argues that it does apply (a serious stretch), a Connecticut pistol permit
holder is clearly 'licensed and privileged' to carry their firearm and the law is
silent on how it must be carried. Both clauses have to be proven, neither would
hold up in court. Neither ever have.
Demands to show permit when stopped
The mere fact that you are carrying a firearm unconcealed does not meet the Reasonable
Articulable Suspicion (RAS) necessary to detain an individual. Therefore, there
is no statutory requirement for a person to provide a pistol permit when they are
not otherwise suspected of a crime. Citizens exercising this right should be aware
that they are likely to face harrassment, threats and even unlawful arrest by police
officers if they refuse to show their permit on demand by police officers. This
has occurred previously, and it was
that the officer lacked RAS to stop the defendant.
Not just Connecticut Carry's opinion
You should not just take Connecticut Carry's word for it. It is important to read
the statutes we have posted here as well as the interpretations of other key officials
This is the official document used to train the State Police in how to deal with
people who are encountered carrying a firearm in plain view.
You should review the opinion of the DPS in a memo sent to the State Police. The
memo is pretty clear on how they expect an officer to act around a citizen carrying
a firearm unconcealed.
You should also review the opinion in the Torrington Police Department's review
of the applicable laws after their interaction with a person carrying unconcealed.
You should also review the opinion in the Wethersfield Police Department's review
of the applicable laws following their receipt and review of the Torrington memo.
The Bridgeport PD is also aware, although we have not yet received their memo yet.
We are working on this however. In the meantime, you may contact Sgt. Nikola of
the Bridgeport Police Department for clarification of their stance on open carry.
The Old Saybrook PD is aware as well of the legality of not concealing a firearm.
They have not been helpful in producing a memo on the issue, but we have been told
it would be communicated verbally to the officers. You may contact Chief Spera to
confirm this. He has assured us that he tells his officers: A person carrying a
firearm unconcealed should be expected to be treated like any other citizen.
We have audio of a BFPE (Board of Firearms Permit Examiners) hearing where the BFPE
states in no uncertain terms that open carry is legal and goes further to admonish
an officer out of Fairfield for arresting someone for open carry (skip ahead to
28:00 if you are in a hurry). The permit was returned to the permittee by a unanimous
vote. Joseph Corradino is the chairman of that board and has mentioned several times
that prosecutors all around the state have been informed of the legality of open
carry and the futility in trying to prosecute for breach of peace for nothing but
not concealing your firearm.
It is clearly not prudent for police or other officials to continue to tell citizens
or officers that they may arrest a person with an unconcealed firearm for no other
unlawful act other than not concealing their firearm. The failure to train officers
on the correct application of the laws opens officers, police departments and towns
and cities up to civil liabilities.