The troopers complete a report which is presented at a subsequent court hearing, at which a judge decides how long the guns should be heldup to a year.
Most of the calls come from spouses, he said, usually wives. The most common type of behavior in the complaint is that the person is suicidal.
State troopers aren't the only ones permitted to seize weapons. The law allows any two police officers, or a prosecutor, to get warrants and seize guns from anyone who poses a risk of injuring himself, someone else, or an animal.
The warrant can be sought only after the officers conduct an investigation to establish that probable cause of a risk exists, or after they rule out a reasonable alternative. An alternative, police say, would be if the person voluntarily agrees to surrender the weapon.
Before issuing a warrant, a judge determines whether violent acts were committed, whether a gun was displayed and whether a person has a history of unstable behavior.
In one notable case, a man was reported by his landlord to Berlin, Conn., police in 2004 for allegedly stating, "I am going to kill myself and take a few people with me." Police obtained a warrant and seized 18 guns from the man.
Four years later, a man called police in New Milford, Conn., "to report strange sightings, including trucks coming out of the ground and shape-changing trailers on his property." He threatened to shoot people in the trailers. Four guns were seized.
In the decade-long period tracked by the Office of Legislative Research, judges refused to grant the warrants only twice, a statistic that troubles advocates for gun owners.
Attorneys who have represented people trying to get their firearms back agree it can be difficult to fight a seizure warrant in court. Though the initial confiscation can be appealed, judges are reluctant to return weapons before the one-year maximum confiscation period has passed.
According to the state Office of Legislative Research, only in 22 instances between 1999 and 2009 were weapons returned more quickly than that. After a year, authorities either return the firearms to the former owner orafter a hearingdestroy them, if there's evidence that the former owner is still unstable.