Newtown, CT — Following the tragic death of Ethan Song in 2018, new legislation Ethan’s Law (H.B. 5345) has been developed to strengthen safe firearm storage requirements in Connecticut by closing state loopholes on criminal liability for unsafe storage of a firearm that results in the death of a minor under age 18.
In response to the hearing on this legislation yesterday, Sandy Hook Promise released the following statement:
“Although Connecticut currently has strong child access prevention laws that impose criminal liability on adults whose unsafe storage of a firearm results in the death of a minor, there is a loophole in current law that says criminal liability can only be imposed if the gun is stored loaded. Ethan’s Law would close this loophole by clarifying that current law also applies to unloaded guns and further extends these protections to all children by changing the definition of minor from children ages 16 and under to children ages 18 and under. These are common-sense steps that should be taken immediately,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in 2012.
“I am proud to be here today in support of the Song family, and we stand with them in honoring Ethan’s memory by expressing our strong support for Ethan’s Law,” Barden continued. “This measure will correct two dangerous flaws in our state’s child access prevention laws and bring us one step closer to protecting all children in our state from gun violence. I ask that the committee report bill 7218 favorably.”
This bill would fix a loophole in current law, which states that criminal liability can only be imposed if a gun is stored loaded. Ethan’s Law would close this loophole by clarifying that the law also applies to unloaded guns. Ethan’s Law further extends these protections to all children by changing the definition of minor from children ages 16 and under, to children ages 18 and under.
According to a 2018 study by scholars at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 4.6 million minors in the U.S. live in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm. Further, surveys by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital have shown that three out of four children know the location of their parent’s gun in the home, and one out of every three children admitted to handling the gun unsupervised. Without strong policy action, these statistics represent countless tragedies waiting to happen.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human-side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
Dini von Mueffling Communications Stephanie Morris: [email protected] | 646-650-5005