In Connecticut, a risk protection order temporarily prohibits individuals who pose an imminent danger of injury to self or others from purchasing and possessing firearms and ammunition. Any family or household member (including a person over the age of 18 who is a spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, stepchild, step-sibling, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, or brother or sister-in-law of the respondent, a person residing with the respondent, a person who has a child in common with the respondent, a person who is dating or an intimate partner of the respondent, and a person who is the legal guardian or former legal guardian of the respondent) or medical professional (including any person who has examined the person who is the subject of the application and who is a physician or physician assistant, an advanced practice registered nurse, a psychologist, or a clinical social worker licensed under Connecticut law) who has a good faith belief that a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to another person may make an application for a risk protection order investigation. If the court determines that there is a good faith belief that the respondent poses such a risk, the court shall order a risk protection order investigation and law enforcement shall conduct such investigation. If law enforcement determines that there is probable cause to believe that the respondent poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to another person, they shall seek a risk protection order, and when applicable, a warrant.
One state’s attorney or two law enforcement officers may file a complaint for a risk protection order to temporarily prohibit the respondent from acquiring or possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon or ammunition. . The judge may issue a risk protection order if it determines there is probable cause that the respondent poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to another person. If the judge determines there is probable cause, they may also issue a warrant for law enforcement to search for and seize any firearms and deadly weapons that the respondent possesses. Within 14 days of the issuance of an ex parte risk protection order or the execution of a warrant, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the risk protection order should continue to apply and whether the State should continue to hold any firearms and ammunition removed by law enforcement pursuant to the warrant. If the court determines that continuing the risk protection order is justified, the order shall remain in place and the State may retain the firearms and ammunition until the respondent successfully petitions the court to terminate the order.
Upon the issuance of a risk protection order, the Connecticut Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protections must revoke from the respondent any eligibility certification for purchasing guns, and any permit to carry guns.
Connecticut’s risk protection order and warrant law, like other Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, includes due process protections to ensure fairness. Due process protections in Connecticut’s law include the issuance of a risk protection order and warrant ex parte by a judicial officer; a post-deprivation hearing of which the respondent is provided notice and an opportunity to participate; and the requirement of substantial and credible evidence (e.g. the enumerated factors the judicial officer must consider) for the issuance of a risk protection order and warrant and the retention of firearms and ammunition until the respondent successfully petitions the court for termination of the order.
Explore the following resources to learn more about Connecticut’s Risk Warrant law:
- Risk Protection Order Process in Connecticut
- Risk Warrant & Domestic Violence Restraining Order: How do they differ?
- Risk Warrant & Court-ordered Mental Health Treatment: How do they differ?
- Connecticut Court Resources
Background: In 1999, following a workplace shooting at the Connecticut Lottery Corporation headquarters the year prior, Connecticut became the first state to pass a risk warrant law: a policy that is similar to extreme risk protection order laws. A bipartisan group of state elected officials voted in support of Connecticut’s risk warrant law.