Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

January 15, 2019

Cohen Co-Sponsors ‘Ethan’s Law’ to Strengthen Firearms Storage Law, Require School Curriculum

State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) is proud to announce that she has signed on as a co-sponsor of House Bill 5345 (“Ethan’s Law”) a new, proposed state law that would require all firearms—and not just loaded firearms—to be stored safely, and to require the state Board of Education develop a mandatory firearms safety curriculum for Connecticut students.

The proposed new law is named after Guilford teenager Ethan Song, who was accidentally killed last year with a handgun that had been stored in the bedroom closet of a friend’s home. Police and press reports note that the gun was stored in a Tupperware container, and that while the weapon was secured with a gun lock, the keys to the lock and ammunition for the gun were stored in the very same container as the handgun.

HB 5345, which has been filed with the Judiciary Committee, would:

  • require all firearms, loaded or unloaded, to be safely stored (current law only applies to loaded firearms)
  • require guns to be kept away from children up to age 18 (current law applies only to those age 16 and younger)
  • require the state Board of Education to create a firearms safety curriculum for Connecticut students (current law is permissive, saying the state Board of Education ‘may’ create a curriculum)

“The safety of our children should be our top priority. By strengthening gun storage laws, we can help prevent terrible tragedies.” Sen. Cohen said. “In Ethan’s case, while the gun wasn’t loaded, having accessibility to the keys and ammunition created essentially the same situation as having access to a loaded gun. That is an enormous hazard and ultimately it cost Ethan his life. We should be doing all we can to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.”

“Having the state Board of Education create a firearms safety curriculum for our students will also heighten awareness, not only among children but among their parents as well. Many times adults simply don’t believe that anyone will ever come in contact with firearms. It’s hard to imagine that situation for some, when they believe a gun is well-hidden. However, we unfortunately know that this is not the case. Should a child gain access to a gun, and the kids are educated in school, the hope is that they’ll have some understanding of the potential dangers of firearms. The hope is that this education will reduce accidental gun deaths.”