Kristin Song speaks at the press conference on Friday.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announces a new federal gun storage bill outside Guilford Town Hall on Friday.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announces a new federal gun storage bill outside Guilford Town Hall on Friday.

A federal gun storage bill being sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy would mirror a new state proposal to tighten Connecticut’s own current firearm storage law.

At a press conference on Friday amid snow showers, Blumenthal announced the measure as he stood outside Guilford Town Hall with advocates and the parents of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old local teenager who accidentally fatally shot himself at a friend’s house last January.

On the day before what would have been Song’s 16th birthday, Blumenthal said firearm owners who do not securely store their guns should be held accountable.

“That’s the purpose of this federal law, to hold accountable any firearms owner who fails to safely store or secure their firearms to prevent access from minors or from others who are dangerous, convicted of crimes, and make our communities safer,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said firearm owners who don’t secure their guns would face a $500 penalty or forfeiture, and a class D felony with up to five years in prison, if the firearm caused any injury or death. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is co-sponsoring the bill.

The federal law would be largely modeled after the new measure introduced by state Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, called “Ethan’s Law.” That law would close a perceived loophole in Connecticut’s current gun storage legislation.

Kristin Song speaks at the press conference on Friday.

Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song, said gun violence in the U.S. could be reduced dramatically if guns are safely stored and secured. Song said she respects those who own guns and want to protect their loved ones.

“Here is the good news, technology has made it possible to keep firearms out of inappropriate hands and permitting quick access to your firearm in the event that you need to protect your loved one or your home—the safes can be opened in a matter of seconds,” Song said.

Connecticut Against Gun Violence Executive Director Jeremy Stein said the measure not only helps avert accidental deaths, but would also aid in preventing suicides, school shootings and urban gun violence. Stein held up a National Rifle Association manual that details safe storage steps.

“[There] is an entire chapter on safe storage, an entire chapter dedicated to what we’re talking about right now,” Stein said. “Everyone agrees this is right thing to do in order to ensure the safety of our children.”

Scanlon, who has sought support for his legislation from the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and Republicans in the Judiciary Committee, said he believes the bill he introduced will have significant bipartisan support.

That bill would amend current law to require that all firearms, even those that are unloaded, be stored properly. It would also raise the age of those considered a minor from the age of 16 to 18.

Scott Wilson, presiden of the CCDL, said Friday that his organization has some concerns that would need to be addressed during the legislative process before it can support the bill.

Clarice Silber was a General Assignment Reporter at CT Mirror. She formerly worked for The Associated Press in Phoenix as a legislative and general assignment reporter. In 2016, she conducted extensive interviews and research in Portuguese and Spanish for the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team at McClatchy, which was the only U.S. newspaper to gain initial access to the Panama Papers. She is a Rio de Janeiro native and graduated from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

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  1. Once again, Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy spend the day on one of their two favorite subjects. They continue doing everything they can as they work towards taking away the Rights of American citizens. Their other favorite pastime is granting Citizen’s Rights to illegal aliens.

    I feel terrible for the family of the young man who shot himself. The guns had been stored–unloaded–in a box and container in the gun owners closet in his room. They were also stored with individual gun locks. Perhaps the young man’s parents should have taught their son to never put a known just-loaded firearm to his head and pull the trigger.

  2. And what about gun owners who have no minors at home? This bill would obviously apply to all gun owners. If I wake up i the middle of the night with someone breaking in, do I have to try to make it to my safe, open and retrieve a weapon for protection? No, Sir, I will not hide my guns to prevent me from protecting my home. So, Mr. Blumenthal wants to make me a criminal felon if a minor breaks in while I am not home and steals my gun because I didn’t have it hidden?

    1. Those who have no minors at home would be exempt from the law that will be written in the bill. the bill would only apply to those that have minors at home.

      1. Perhaps.

        For now.

        Takes so little effect to sneak a minor change to this proposed law into another somewhat related (or even an unrelated) bill. Been done before and likely to be done again.

        It’s really too bad that laws have to be written to cover the things that Common Sense would normally protect us against.

  3. Chicago is murder inc with the strongest gun laws in place. This just the camel’s nose. Make people lock up ammo and when we are comfortable with that they will introduce a new federal law making storage of guns and ammo separate the law and then when we are comfortable with that…..
    A million children a year are murdered in abortion clinics a year. Stop that and you will have ‘done this for Ethan’.
    My point is that if saving the kids was the point the anti-gunners would treat abortion with the same contempt and make it illegal.
    For the kids.

  4. a person who would leave a loaded gun accessible to a child won’t obey a law prohibiting it. the law only applies to responsible people. gun laws are illegal, immoral, and dysfunctional. politicians who create gun laws should be held accountable and punished for violating the constitution. Blumenthal is a criminal and should be in jail and fined.

  5. There are 400 million firearms in the United States. Yet in the entire country there were only 495 accidental firearm deaths FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR in 2016.

    There are only 250 million cars in this country with 104 Americans dying EVERY DAY in automobile accidents.

    11 American teenagers die EVERY DAY in texting related accidents.

    130 Americans die EVERY DAY from overdosing on Opioids.

    123 Americans die EVERY DAY from suicide and depression.

    And of course, 1300 Americans die EVERY DAY from cigarette smoking.

    Our Senators are an embarrassment to this nation. Go after the law-abiding (and law-abused) gun owners to ‘protect’ your community while it burns down all around you. Great work, elected leaders.

  6. Like a lot of “gun laws”, this will be ignored by the vast majority of gun owners. Take a look at Boulder Colorado’s new ordinance.

    This is a feel good, look good law.

  7. The obvious question is why its taken the good Senators so long to propose “gun safe storage of weapons”. California has long had this requirement on the books. As do virtually every modern western nation. Even in Israel where reservists store weapons at home has a gun safe program and not incidentally one of the lowest gun casualty rates anywhere despite surrounded by terror groups. Gun safes is such a simple, straightforward proposal that its astonishing it hasn’t been adopted. Curiously, Norwalk, CT’s only City with a former Police Chief as Mayhor, doesn’t have a gun safe ordinance. Nor has it proposed. So Kudos to Blumenthal and Murphy to speaking out about the obvious merits of gun safes.

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