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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Takes Stand With Senate To Pass ‘Ethan’s Law’

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) took a stand with his colleagues on the Senate floor, voting to approve “Ethan’s Law.” The Senate advanced the key bill that would require guns in homes with minors to be stored in locked containers.

“With this legislation, we honor the memory of Ethan Song and the hard work of his parents,” said Sen. Needleman. “After Ethan’s tragic loss last year, this legislation will work to save lives, keeping firearms away from children and teenagers. Any life lost to an unsecured gun is one too many. With this legislation, we will save lives.”

Current state law requires gun owners to secure loaded guns in locked containers if a minor under the age of 16 lives in their home. House Bill No. 7218, commonly referred to as “Ethan’s Law,” strengthens that law by requiring safe storage for all guns – loaded and unloaded – and additionally increases the age restriction from 16 years old to 18 years old. The legislation further makes negligent storage of a firearm a Class D felony and requires the Connecticut Board of Education to develop a K-12 guide on gun safety.

This bill is named for Ethan Song, a 15-year-old from Guilford who died in 2018 when he was shot with an improperly stored gun at a friend’s house. The gun’s owner could not be prosecuted in relation to Song’s death because the gun was not loaded when it was improperly stored. The Song family was in the Senate chamber Thursday afternoon to watch the bill’s passage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2017, at least 2,696 children and adolescents were unintentionally shot after a gun was improperly stored; more than 100 were killed. Another 1,100 children took their own lives, many with unsecured firearms. The Harvard School of Public Health found that adolescents who die by suicide are twice as likely to have access to a gun at home than those who survive suicide attempts.

Caption: The family of Ethan Song embraces and celebrates with State Senator Christine Cohen Thursday after the Senate voted to approve ‘Ethan’s Law’ by a vote of 34-2.

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