General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 6598

January Session, 2013

 

LCO No. 4202

 

*04202_______PS_*

Referred to Committee on PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY

 

Introduced by:

 

(PS)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC PROTECTION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 29-38c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(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. 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.

(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 section 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. 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 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 seized firearms 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, it may order that the firearm or firearms 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 seized firearm or firearms 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, it 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 have been ordered seized pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, or such person's legal representative, may transfer such firearm or firearms in accordance with the provisions of section 29-33 or other applicable state or federal law, to any person eligible to possess such firearm or firearms. 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 shall within ten days deliver such firearm or firearms to the transferee.

(f) Any person whose firearm or firearms have been ordered seized pursuant to subsection (d) of this section and who does not transfer such firearm or firearms in accordance with subsection (e) of this section may request the return of such firearm or firearms upon the expiration of any period, ordered by the court pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, during which such firearm or firearms shall continue to be held. Such request shall be made in writing to the state agency holding such firearm or firearms, and shall be made not later than sixty days after the expiration of the holding period ordered by the court. If no such request is received by the state agency prior to the expiration of such time period, the state agency may dispose of such firearm or firearms in any manner it deems appropriate, and no liability shall thereby accrue against such state agency or its employees.

Sec. 2. Section 53a-217b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(a) A person is guilty of possession of a weapon on school grounds when, knowing that such person is not licensed or privileged to do so, such person possesses a firearm or deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, (1) in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or (2) at a school-sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the otherwise lawful possession of a firearm (1) by a person for use in a program approved by school officials in or on such school property or at such school-sponsored activity, (2) by a person in accordance with an agreement entered into between school officials and such person or such person's employer, (3) by a peace officer, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 53a-3, [while engaged in the performance of such peace officer's official duties,] or (4) by a person while traversing such school property for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes, provided such firearm is not loaded and the entry on such school property is permitted by the local or regional board of education.

(c) Possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class D felony.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2013

29-38c

Sec. 2

October 1, 2013

53a-217b

Statement of Purpose:

To allow state agencies holding seized firearms to manage their inventory of such firearms without the risk of liability, and to permit peace officers to possess firearms on school grounds, even when off duty.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]