Ethan’s Law, named in honor of Guilford teen Ethan Song, would create federal requirements for safe gun storage and strong penalties for any violations
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) led a group of nine Members of Congress in introducing Ethan’s Law. This legislation will create federal requirements for safe gun storage and establish strong penalties for any violations. The bill is named in honor of Ethan Song, a teenager from Guilford, Connecticut, who was tragically killed on January 31, 2018 – almost exactly three years ago – after accidentally shooting himself with an unsecured gun in a neighbor’s home. Blumenthal, Murphy, and DeLauro unveiled the legislation during a virtual news conference earlier today with Ethan Song’s parents, Kristin and Mike Song.
“Requiring safe firearm storage is a simple, straightforward step that will save lives,” Blumenthal said. “Ethan Song was killed tragically and needlessly because of an unsecured gun, but his parents Kristin and Mike turned their grief into powerful advocacy to save others. We can prevent other families from the heartbreak the Song family has endured by passing the commonsense Ethan’s Law and mandating gun owners to store their firearms responsibly.”
“Far too many lives have been lost due to children getting access to a weapon that’s not securely stored. That has to change. I’m proud to join my friends Senator Blumenthal and Congresswoman DeLauro in reintroducing this legislation to honor Ethan Song’s life. ‘Ethan’s Law’ was enacted in Connecticut and has proven that it works. It’s now time for the Congress to do the same,” Murphy said.
“If basic safety measures and consequences had been codified into law, Ethan Song’s tragic death could have been prevented,” DeLauro said. “In fact, thousands of lives every year could be saved. Just one month and a few days into 2021, there have been 14 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in four deaths and 11 injuries. These tragedies are preventable, and the Congress has a duty to pass legislation that protects our children from senseless and accidental violence. Mike and Kristin Song turned their own personal tragedy into a crusade to protect children. Ethan’s Law will protect families – both those who own guns and those who do not. Mike and Kristin, you made your voices heard at the state level in Connecticut, and now we must follow your lead on the federal level.”
"In the time it takes you to take a breath, my beautiful boy was killed. In the time it takes you to take a breath, the gun that killed my beautiful boy could have been secured,” Kristin Song said. “Since Ethan's death on January 31, 2018, more than 8,700 children have joined Ethan in heaven, and their families have joined my family down the path of tears. There is no hidden agenda behind Ethan's Law. The sole purpose is simple—to keep kids safe."
An estimated 4.6 million American minors live in a household with at least one loaded and unlocked gun. Every day, an estimated eight children and teens are injured or killed due to an unsafely stored firearm. Under Ethan’s Law, gun owners would be required to 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 their own safe gun storage laws.
The Connecticut General Assembly passed Ethan’s Law in May of 2019, led by State Representative Sean Scanlon and State Senator Christine Cohen, and it was signed by Governor Ned Lamont in June 2019. Although other states have laws requiring the safe storage of firearms, they are inconsistent and sometimes difficult to enforce.
In addition to Blumenthal, Murphy, and DeLauro the legislation was cosponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and in the House by U.S. Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Jim Himes (D-CT), and Jahana Hayes (D-CT). The text of the Senate legislation can be found here.
“Far too many lives are lost each year to gun-related incidents,” Larson said. “Deaths due to improper gun storage are preventable, and Ethan’s Law would ensure there is a federal standard for safe gun storage. Connecticut has already passed this initiative, and I am proud to join Congresswoman DeLauro and Ethan’s parents in this effort, on the federal level, to prevent other families from experiencing this tragic loss.”
“I was proud to join the Song family, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and my colleagues today to honor the life of Ethan Song,” Courtney said. “Our Connecticut delegation is United to advance this legislation in the same manner that the Connecticut General Assembly did in 2019 when they passed Ethan’s Law. This bill is commonsense, and it could help save lives. I urge the rest of my colleagues in the House to join us and ensure its swift passage.”
“Passing Ethan’s Law on the federal level will reduce accidents and theft involving firearms,” Himes said. “The majority of gun owners and non-gun owners across the country support safe storage laws. We in Connecticut know this, which is why Ethan’s Law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Connecticut House of Representatives and the State Senate. It’s time for Congress to realize that we have the backing of the American people to enact firearm safety legislation to protect our families and communities and finally act.”
“Thank you to the Song family, and to my colleagues, for their tireless work on this critical legislation. Connecticut is no stranger to gun violence. But in the wake of tragedy, Connecticut has led the way in implementing commonsense gun violence prevention laws and closing loopholes that leave children and families vulnerable. It is time the federal government follow our state’s lead,” Hayes said. “Congress has a moral imperative to ensure that no family has to worry about their children having access to a gun and that all firearms are secured properly. I will continue to work to advance Ethan’s Law, and advocate for laws to prevent violence across the country.”