Preban “Assault Weapons”

One of the biggest questions we’ve seen about the new CT gun laws concerns so-called pre-ban assault weapons. These are firearms that were manufactured before September 13, 1994. The new law appears to specifically exempt them from the new ban/registration, as long as they were legal under the previous Connecticut Assault Weapon Ban. This was the topic of much discussion at this month’s presentation on the new firearm laws. Many discussions have also been had among gun owners and even FFLs about this, with some dealers refusing to touch prebans, and others openly advertising them for sale.

A few weeks ago I emailed the CT DESPP Special Licensing and Firearms unit about this, and the reply was these preban firearms are in fact currently exempt from registration and are legal to buy/sell. Since an email doesn’t carry much weight, a CCDL member who owns such a preban paid an attorney to get this in writing from the CT Commissioner of Public Safety. Remember, this is not legal advice, and if you own or are considering buying one of these firearms I would recommend you discuss this with your own lawyer. I also suggest you have good written proof as to the date of manufacture. Also remember that the Commissioner doesn’t write the laws, nor is he a judge or jury. He only tells the State Police how to interpret the law. That can always change, and has changed in the past. For now, here is the letter from Attorney David Clough to Commissioner of Public Safety Reuben Bradford. Following that is the reply
letter from Commissioner Bradford that states these preban firearms are exempt from registration and transfer restrictions.

You may also download pdf files of the two letters here:

12 thoughts on “Preban “Assault Weapons”

  1. Get the lawyers ready to sue when they move to ban the transfer of grandfathered weapons. This makes their convoluted unconstitutional law even more absurd.

    • Remember, this was not a mistake. Someone put it back in their on purpose. That suggests that someone with clout has an enlightened self interest in keeping it in there.

      So long as nobody goes around and embarrasses the legislature on this point, it is likely that it will hang around.

  2. Perhaps this is how they overcome the Heller decision which held that you can’t ban an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. They can now presumably argue that some “assault weapons” are still legal in CT and thus they have not banned the entire class.

    • The exemption states that any A.W. manufactured before 1994 is legal.Of course to prove this you may need a manufacturers letter to prove d.o.m. which would be impossible to get from Norinco or any other licensed AK manufacturer.

      • I would think that the serial number and manufacturer’s information would be sufficient. Elseways, they have the burden of proof that it is not made pre-ban and they would not be able to prove it. Right?

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