David Nastri v. Katie Dykes

Connecticut prohibits anyone from carrying handguns in its state parks and forests for the purpose of self-defense. At the same time, it also permits individuals to hunt game in its state parks and forests with shotguns and .22 caliber pistols in certain instances. Connecticut also maintains four recreational shooting ranges within state parks and forests that are open to the public.

David J. Nastri is an Army National Guard combat veteran, a well-respected financial advisor, and an attorney who assists veterans before the Veterans’ Administration. He has held a valid Connecticut pistol permit for over 30 years, and he regularly hikes in Connecticut state parks and forests. He has challenged Connecticut’s prohibition on carrying handguns in Connecticut state parks and forests as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Atkinson Law is proud to represent Attorney Nastri, who is waging a constitutional fight that will benefit every user of Connecticut state parks and forests.

Current Status Of The Case:

Appealed to the Second Circuit. The district court dismissed the case on July 12, 2023.


The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The case is Nastri v. Dykes, 3:23-cv-00056.

Background of David Nastri, Esq.:

David Nastri is a combat veteran, a financial advisor, an attorney, a kidney donor, and an active participant in his community. His life is a veritable timeline of sacrifice and service to his nation and his community, and he has established a record of more than 30 years as a law-abiding and peaceable Connecticut citizen.

Nastri earned his Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) in 2001 from Quinnipiac University. As a financial advisor, he currently holds four FINRA licenses, including a Series 7, a Series 63, a Series 66, and a Life & Health license. In addition to passing the rigorous background checks required for these licenses, Nastri holds a clean disciplinary record for all of his financial licenses.

His appetite for learning and ultimately giving back to his community did not stop there though. Nastri returned to school and earned his law degree in 2018 from Quinnipiac University. He subsequently became an attorney duly licensed to practice law in Connecticut on November 2, 2018, and he remains in good standing with no record of a disciplinary history. Since obtaining his law license, Nastri has represented numerous veterans in a pro bono capacity in Veterans’ Administration matters during what spare time he has left over from his day job as a financial advisor.

Nastri’s service to his fellow citizens, community, and nation has been long and enduring.

In 2001, Nastri donated one of his kidneys to a local schoolteacher to save her life.

In 2009-2010, Nastri deployed to Afghanistan as a Staff Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, Connecticut Army National Guard in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his deployment, Nastri saw combat, and he earned several awards during his military service, including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Louisiana Emergency Service Medal. He received an honorable discharge in March 2012.

What’s At Stake?:

One of the oldest rights in human history is the right to defend yourself against harm posed by others. Our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of this right and the need for a strong Second Amendment to protect everyone’s right to defend themselves by guaranteeing Americans the right to bear arms. While the law establishes certain restrictions on the right to bear arms, those restrictions are narrow, and, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, they must come from a well-established historical tradition.

American governments seeking to advance radical gun control agendas find themselves in a predicament after the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen. It has become much harder for them to justify gun control by fear. That doesn’t mean that they will stop trying though.

Nastri’s case represents one of the first cases of its kind in the United States because it asks the courts to create a constitutional definition of “sensitive places” – places so important or sensitive that a complete prohibition on the carrying of firearms is justified and constitutionally permissible. The Supreme Court has given some guidance in this area, but it has not developed a precise definition of what a “sensitive place” is.

Naturally, Connecticut will seek a broad definition of what “sensitive places” are so it can justify its stringent gun control regulations, which are among the United States’ toughest. Nastri has asked the courts to formulate a definition that is faithful to history and is consistent with the meaning of the Founding Fathers’ Second Amendment, not a Second Amendment reshaped by fear.

A victory for Nastri protects every American’s right to bear arms. A victory for Connecticut would unleash new waves of stringent and unconstitutional gun control regulations that would virtually strip Connecticut citizens of their constitutional rights.

The Bottom Line:

Connecticut state parks and forests are not “sensitive places.” Allowing people to carry handguns within their borders will cause no harm to the public and no more disturbance than the thousands of hunters and recreational shooters that use Connecticut’s state parks and forests every year.

Key Court Documents:

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