June 4, 2021

Senator Haskell Joins Senate Final Approval of Bill Modernizing Connecticut’s Red Flag Law He Co-Sponsored

HARTFORD – Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined the Senate in its vote to strengthen Connecticut’s “red flag” laws, expanding the weapons covered under risk warrants and allowing family and household members to apply for risk protection order investigations. The legislation, passed by the House on May 12 by a 93-55 margin, passed the Senate today by a 23-12 margin and now heads to Governor Lamont’s desk to be signed into law. Sen. Haskell co-sponsored the law.

“In 1998, Connecticut passed the first ‘red flag’ law in the country to keep firearms away from individuals whose families consider them to be a danger to themselves or others. Today, we took steps to make sure it remains relevant and important,” said Sen. Haskell. “This bill has saved dozens of lives in the last two decades, but today, we sought to fix it further. For instance, under these changes, a person deemed to be a risk to themselves or others cannot purchase a new firearm, closing a loophole of access that could lead to violence. Additionally, sometimes individuals are uncomfortable reporting a loved one to the police; this legislation allows them to report that individual to the courts instead. I’m proud to join my colleagues in sending it to Governor Lamont’s desk to be signed into law.”

House Bill 6355, “An Act Concerning Risk Protection Orders Or Warrants And Disqualifiers For Firearm Permits And Eligibility Certificates,” expands the scope of Connecticut’s “red flag” laws to cover additional deadly weapons and allows law enforcement officials or a state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney to apply for a risk protection order prohibiting a person from acquiring or possessing firearms, other deadly weapons or ammunition.

The bill further allows adult family or household members or medical professionals to apply for a risk protection order investigation, which will determine whether a person poses a risk of imminent injury to himself, herself or someone else. If police determine there is probable cause to believe the person poses such a risk, they must seek a risk protection order and, when applicable, a risk warrant.

Further changes in the bill include removing the current one-year maximum period on the state’s hold of items seized under a risk warrant, instead continuing the protection order/seizure period until the person successfully petitions the court to terminate the order and warrant; individual may periodically challenge their order starting 180 days after an initial hearing. The bill further narrows the list of people to whom someone under a risk warrant may transfer firearms or ammunition, bars people under risk protection orders or investigation orders from obtaining handgun or long gun permits, and extends existing criminal penalties for unlawful possession of handguns or other firearms, electronic defense weapons or ammunition to people possessing such items if they know they are subject to risk protection or investigation orders.