Ethan’s Law mandates safe storage of firearms within homes where a minor is present
Legislative Package also includes bills banning ghost guns and requiring the safe storage of guns in vehicles
June 4, 2019 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded Governor Lamont after signing three bills tightening the regulation of firearms in Connecticut. Included in the package of bills is Ethan’s Law, which keeps children safe from firearms stored within homes.
“Connecticut continues to be a national leader for stronger gun laws,” said Molly Voigt, state legislative manager at Giffords. “No family should have to experience what Ethan Song’s went through. To honor his memory, state leaders fought to pass legislation preventing similar accidents from happening. Their courageous actions to protect Connecticut residents from gun violence should be applauded. We also thank the Governor for his leadership in working to show the rest of the country the steps we need to take to live free from gun violence.”
HB 7218, known as Ethan’s Law, comes after 15-year-old Guilford teen, Ethan Song, accidentally shot and killed himself while at a friend’s home. The law mandates that firearms must be safely stored in any home in which a child under the age of 18 is present. The law also extends the age range of firearm safety programs to kindergarten through grade 12.
Child Access Protection Laws, like Ethan’s Law, seek to prevent school shootings, youth suicides, and unintentional gun deaths. With more than 4.6 million minors living in homes with at least one loaded firearm and 73% of children under the age of ten knowing the location of their parent’s gun, household firearms can hold great risk to our children if not safely stored.
House Bill 7219 bans 3D printed ghost guns—or do-it-yourself guns. 3D-printed guns—firearms built by programming a computer file into a 3D printer that manufactures items out of plastic—do not have serial numbers, barring law enforcement officers from tracing them when they are used in crimes.
Because they are made of plastic, they often cannot be detected by the metal detectors used at security checkpoints in airports and other sensitive locations. And because these files will be accessible anywhere in America or around the world, they could be used by anyone—a teenager, a convicted criminal, a terrorist—to produce a firearm.
Guns produced with 3D printers are just the latest example of a dangerous trend: the rise of “ghost guns.” Ghost guns are firearms that are produced by unlicensed individuals, rather than licensed manufacturers, and are therefore sometimes referred to as “do-it-yourself guns.” Because the individuals who produce them are not licensed manufacturers, they are not subject to existing serialization requirements, which means the firearms do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced by law enforcement.
House Bill 7223 bans the storage of certain firearms, limited to pistols and revolvers, in unattended vehicles not only protects from accidental shootings by children left in vehicles but also reduces the risk that the weapon may be stolen and used to commit a crime.