The Malloy Administration has confirmed that so-called “assault weapons” manufactured prior to 1994 are legal to purchase, sell, and transfer in Connecticut.
“If you can prove that they were manufactured before 1994 than they are not affected by this law. And that’s been the law since 2001 in Connecticut,” Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy Mike Lawlor said.
The exemption was made clear in a letter from the Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to an attorney.
“It is the intent of the legislature to exclude assault weapons manufactured before September 13, 1994,” the letter said.
Gun enthusiasts claim they stumbled upon this possible loophole in Connecticut’s new firearms legislation.
“It’s my understanding that the Connecticut State Legislature may have overlooked pre-existing pre-ban types of rifles that were grandfathered in prior to the 1994 assault weapon ban,” Defense League President Scott Wilson said.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton implemented a ban on assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004, and guns built before the ban once again became legal to sell. Now, some gun organizations and their attorneys believe Connecticut failed to address those types of guns in their new legislation.
“There’s a possibility that it is possible to obtain one legally in the State of Connecticut,” Wilson said.
Analysis by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research also supports this supposed “loophole” saying, “Certain assault weapons defined by criteria, rather than specific name, are exempt from the state transfer restrictions and registration requirements if they were legally manufactured before September 13, 1994.”
That is, as long as the guns only use 10 round magazines.
A source told Fox Connecticut that this new information could have a dramatic impact on gun dealers in Connecticut. One gun dealer has already purchased 37 of the pre-ban firearms.
“If they’re deemed legal and lawful and the firearms dealers want to sell them, then there’s certainly going to be a market for it,” Wilson said.
Mike Lawlor would not confirm whether the legislature was aware of the pre-1994 exemption.