June 5, 2015

Connecticut Court Rules on Categorically Banning People from Transporting Weapons

OLR Report 2015-R-0026 summarizes the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling in State v. Deciccio, which overturned the conviction of a man imprisoned for transporting weapons in a vehicle while moving his belongings to a new residence.

While Mr. Deciccio was moving his belongings from his Connecticut residence to his new residence in Massachusetts on July 22, 2010, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The responding officer noticed several weapons in Deciccio’s vehicle and charged him with six counts of having a weapon in a motor vehicle in violation of CGS § 29-38(a), which, with some exceptions, makes it unlawful to carry certain weapons in a vehicle.

After a jury trial, the court found the defendant guilty of unlawfully transporting the police baton and dirk knife in his vehicle and not guilty with respect to the other weapons. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended after 15 months, and three years probation with special conditions.

Deciccio appealed his conviction on grounds that CGS § 29-38(a) is unconstitutionally vague and that it violated his constitutional right to bear arms by preventing him from transporting his weapons to his new home.

The state Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, rejected Deciccio’s claim that the statute is vague but held that its “categorical ban on transporting dirk knives and police batons from one home to another operates as a significant infringement on the defendant’s right to bear arms in his home.” As the OLR report noted, “the court said that its holding was narrow, and the legislature is free to regulate the carrying and transportation of dangerous weapons in the interest of public safety, so long as the regulation accords with the Second Amendment.”