I have had a lot of clients lately who have been arrested after getting involved in various disputes while they were legally carrying handguns. I do represent a lot of clients in weapons crimes cases but these were not weapons cases. These were normal run of the mill breach of the peace or disorderly conduct cases that got escalated into much more serious charges due to the fact that the victim became aware that my client was carrying a weapon. No, they did not pull the handguns out and point them or brandish them at anyone. However the fact that the alleged victim(s) were able to ascertain that they were in possession of a handgun was enough for the Police to add additional charges for reckless endangerment based upon the unfounded allegations that my clients were carrying a handgun and brandishing it in the middle of a altercation.
The law on open carry in Connecticut
All pistol permit holders are entitled in Connecticut to either carry a handgun concealed or open carry. In addition, you do not have to produce your pistol permit to a Police officer unless you want to if you are open carrying unless the officer has probable cause that a crime has been committed – such as the complaint of a citizen that you are openly carrying a handgun and that is resulting in disorderly conduct. In 2017 The State Legislature debated a house measure which would have required that gun permit holders carrying a visible pistol or revolver to produce their carry permit at the request of a law enforcement officer. That bill did not pass.
My advice on open carry
Open carry puts you in a really bad situation in any confrontation you get in as anyone knows that you have a handgun and can falsely claim that you brandished it or threatened them with it. I have several clients with cases pending who have gotten into trouble because the crime victim was able to see the handgun and then used it against the client making false accusations. The Police are going to confiscate any handgun under these circumstances along with your pistol permit and you are going to pick up additional charges.
It is always better to carry your handgun totally concealed and never allow anyone to know that you are carrying a handgun under any circumstances. You are simply putting yourself in a bad situation if you provide to others the information that you are carrying a handgun. Not to mention the possibility that the Police or others may shoot you and claim that you were reaching for your handgun. (This is an all too common occurrence all across the United States).
If you have a pistol permit always keep it concealed and do not pull it out unless you have to use it for defense (this means defense against deadly force). It is the best policy not to let anyone know that you are carrying a handgun. If you are getting into an argument or a dispute such as road rage, or other argument and you are carrying your handgun try and defuse the situation as quickly as possible and leave the scene and do not mention that you are carrying a handgun.
If you have been arrested for a crime while in possession of your handgun contact our office at 203.357.5555 to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss a defense strategy to resolve your criminal case and also start working on getting back your handgun and your pistol permit.