By The Associated Press
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — City officials have moved a step closer to ending New Britain’s status as the only Connecticut municipality requiring gun owners to carry weapons openly.
A council committee on Wednesday endorsed a measure allowing anyone with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Currently, gun owners are forbidden to hide them in a bag or purse or beneath clothing.
Council member Willie Pabon proposed ending the restriction after he saw two men with handguns in holsters in plain view walk into a store. After calling police, Pabon said, he was surprised to learn that the men were complying with the city ordinance.
The full city council was expected to approve the change within days.
Earlier this year the city of New London eliminated a requirement that weapons be carried openly, leaving New Britain as the last city Connecticut with such a policy.
State law insists that people carrying a pistol or revolver outside their home must have a valid permit, but it does not directly address whether gun owners are required to carry them openly.
City attorney Mary Pokorski said in remarks reported by The New Britain Herald that the city ordinance does not authorize the carrying guns in prohibited places.
“The owners of the property could say you aren’t allowed to bring a firearm on our property,” Pokorski said.
The Hartford Courant reported that Council President Pro Tem Michael Trueworthy emphasized to colleagues that the vote is not about individual opinions about guns. Council members noted that the Second Amendment ensures citizens have a right to carry guns.