Connecticut Dems Looking to Expand 'Gun-Free Zones' Around Election Sites

AP Photo/Matthew Brown

On Monday, House Democrats in Connecticut introduced HB 5448, which would create a huge number of "gun-free zones" throughout the state related to elections. Under the proposed text polling places, locations dedicated to early voting, same-day election registration sites, places where ballots are counted and recanvassing takes place, and all ballot drop boxes would be off limits to lawful carry once absentee voting begins. 


The bill goes even further, banning lawful carry within 1/4 mile of each of these locations for the 31-day period between absentee voting and when an election is held. As Connecticut Citizens Defense League's Holly Sullivan tells Bearing Arms, it would be almost impossible to know if you're violating the law given the sheer number of locations that we're talking about. 

Democrats wasted little time in scheduling HB 5448 for a hearing today, but CCDL was on top of their game in alerting members to the threat. In about 24 hours the group rallied more than 500 gun owners to submit written testimony opposing the bill, and lined up 20 people to speak in opposition to the measure during today's hearing. 

In contrast, there were only a handful of supporters who submitted written testimony of their own, with the vast majority of citizens expressing their objections to the proposal. Here are a few of their statements:

1,000 feet is almost ¼ mile and could easily create felons out of unsuspecting and otherwise law-abidinggun owners.If polling locations and the 1,000-foot radius around them are deemed dangerous, the state is onlycreating potential victims by disarming citizens.This “sensitive location” ban is widely controversial and likely unconstitutional under the SupremeCourt's Bruen decision.


This bill serves no meaningful purpose. Since open carry is banned in Connecticut, no one in a polling place would even know, let alone be intmidated by a person carrying a firearm for their protecion. Should someone decide to use a gun for intmidation, they would have to display or draw said gun which, of course, is already illegal. Connecticut carry permit holders are amongst the most law‐abiding citizens in the State. The result of this law amounts to nothing more than harassment of people who have followed all the laws, process,and passed background checks required to obtain a carry permit in Connecticut. If passed, this bill would make people accidental felons who had no intention of breaking the law. Consider a scenario where someone is just driving to work or the grocery store and is carrying a firearm for personal protection, gets pulled over or has their car break down within 1000 feet of a polling place. If this person should voluntarily disclose to the responding officer that they are carrying a firearm, the officer could arrest this person for committing a class D felony, effectively ruining their life.

Removing the right to carry firearms puts not only votersat risk, but potentially it puts poll workers at risk for violence and deprives everyone of a right to selfdefense. It is unreasonable to demand a large gun free zone around voting areas. I do not understandwhy the CT legislative body continues to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights guaranteed in boththe federal and state constitutions. This needs to be defeated. Please end this now.


HB 5448 isn't a solution in search of a problem. It turns something that's a non-issue into a very real concern for lawful gun owners in the state, who are already subjected to ridiculous infringements on their Second Amendment rights. The CCDL did a fantastic job of alerting their members, and the grassroots activists responded with a wave of disapproval. Whether the Democratic majority on the committee is actually listening is another story altogether, but it'll be interesting to see if the language of HB 5448 is amended before it's brought up for a vote in the coming days. 

In the meantime, Connecticut 2A advocates should continue to contact their representatives and urge them to defeat or defang the anti-carry language in the bill. No one wants to see election workers subjected to the threat of violence, but we all know how worthless a "gun-free zone" designation is when it comes to stopping those with evil intentions. Given that there's absolutely no evidence that lawful concealed carry holders have been a threat in the past or will pose one in the future, and the fact that this bill would make much of the state off-limits to lawful carry in the month before Election Day, Democrats can either kill the bill now or wait for the courts to do it for them once it becomes law and is challenged by groups like the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.


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