WASHINGTON, CT - On Friday, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced new legislation to create federal requirements for safe gun storage and strong penalties for any violations. Blumenthal detailed the legislation at an event in Guilford, Connecticut with Kristin and Michael Song, the parents of Ethan Song, who was tragically killed last year after accidentally shooting himself with a gun that had been stored at a friend’s home. Tomorrow would have been Ethan’s sixteenth birthday.
“Ethan Song – who would have been sixteen tomorrow – was killed tragically, needlessly, and senselessly. Requiring the safe storage of firearms is a simple, straightforward step that is a matter of moral obligation,” Blumenthal said. “There is clear consensus that we can prevent other families from enduring the pain the Song family has by simply requiring firearm owners to store their guns safely and responsibly.”
“If a child is in the home, your guns should be stored safely. Period. Too many lives have been lost due to children getting access to a weapon that’s not stored safely. I’m proud to work with Senator Blumenthal, State Representative Sean Scanlon, and the Song family to honor Ethan’s life and help keep children safe from gun violence,” said Murphy.
An estimated 4.6 million American minors live in a household with a firearm. More than seventy-five percent of firearms used in youth suicide attempts or unintentional shootings were stored in the residence of the youth, a relative, or friend.
Under the new legislation introduced by Blumenthal and Murphy today, gun owners must secure their firearms in a “secure gun storage or safety device” if a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without permission, or if a resident of the dwelling cannot legally possess a firearm. The bill also includes incentives for states to pass, and enforce compliance of, their own safe gun storage laws.
Although some states have laws requiring the safe storage of firearms, they are inconsistent and sometimes difficult to enforce. For example, while Connecticut law prohibits gun owners from improperly storing a firearm or leaving it where a minor could gain access to it without permission of a parent or guardian, the state law only applies to a firearm this is improperly stored while loaded. Connecticut State Representative Sean Scanlon, who joined Blumenthal at today’s event along with the Kristin and Michael Song and Executive Director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence Jeremy Stein, has announced plans to introduce a new legislation removing the “loaded” requirement from the existing state gun storage law.