CCDL, 2nd Amendment group file suit against CT officials over ban on ‘modern sporting arms’

State gun advocates filed a lawsuit against various Connecticut officials in an effort to overturn the state’s ban on what they call modern sporting arms.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:48 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 9:50 PM EDT
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SEYMOUR, CT (WFSB) - State gun advocates filed a lawsuit against various Connecticut officials in an effort to overturn the state’s ban on what they call modern sporting arms.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League said it partnered with the Second Amendment Foundation to file the federal civil rights action in U.S. District Court.

The groups said the state’s ban violates the Second and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

They said three plaintiffs also joined the suit because they want to posses sporting rifles for defensive purposes. They claim the rifles should not fall under the state’s assault weapons ban.

“These individual plaintiffs are just a fraction of the tens of thousands of law-abiding gun owners who are members of the CCDL, and who have been aggrieved by Connecticut’s unconstitutional law since the ban was enacted,” said Holly Sullivan, president of the CCDL. “We all deserve to live in safe communities, but denying ownership of the most commonly owned firearms in the country is not the way to achieve it. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bruen has opened the door to this challenge, and we believe Connecticut will be hard pressed to prove its statutes are constitutional. Like those defending the New York statute stricken down in Bruen, anti-gun officials here in Connecticut trumpet their laws as being the harshest in the country. Quite clearly, the recent Supreme Court decision meets Connecticut’s harshness with rebuke in support of individual and inalienable rights. We bring this lawsuit to vindicate those rights.”

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong issued a statement Friday in response to the suit.

“Connecticut’s gun laws save lives, and we are not going back,” Tong said. “This latest threat is disturbing, but not surprising. The moment the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Bruen, I knew the gun lobby was coming for Connecticut’s post-Sandy Hook gun safety laws. We will not allow weapons of war back into our schools, our houses of worship, our grocery stores, and our communities. I will vigorously defend our laws against any and every one of these baseless challenges.”

Tong said the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on June 23 in New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen substantially rewriting major gun safety legal precedent. The decision, overturning a New York handgun licensing law, did not immediately impact Connecticut’s handgun licensing laws.

However, Tong warned at the time that the decision invited a wave of new litigation nationwide and in Connecticut.

Tong said the new suit marked the second such challenge filed post-Bruen.

The National Association for Gun Rights also challenged Connecticut’s assault weapon and high-capacity magazine laws. They were forced to amend their suit when their initial plaintiff withdrew, saying she neither owned nor desired to own an assault weapon, according to media reports.