Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

May 23, 2019

Senator Cohen Strongly Supports State Senate Passage of Ethan’s Law

HARTFORD, CT – Today, state Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) voted in favor of Ethan’s Law which will require guns to be stored in locked containers in homes with minors. This legislation passed by a 34 to 2 vote.

Ethan’s Law, House Bill 7218 (HB 7218), is named for Ethan Song, a 15-year-old from Guilford who died in 2018 when he was accidentally killed by 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 stored. Sen. Cohen championed Ethan’s Law on the state Senate floor and thanked the Ethan’s parents, Kristin and Mike Song, for their courage and hard work in getting this legislation passed.

“The passage of this legislation is a testament to the strength of Kristin and Mike Song,” said Sen. Cohen. “They speak to everyone who will listen to them about how to fix our broken gun safety laws. Due to their efforts and those of state Representative Sean Scanlon and state Senator Gary Winfield as well as the rest of my delegation, we have created a safer Connecticut for children and families. Sadly, the tragic story of Ethan Song is not an aberration, so I am thrilled we took a step in right direction to ensure the safety of our state’s young people.”

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. HB 7218 strengthens this 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 an unloaded firearm a Class D felony and also requires the Connecticut Board of Education to develop a K-12 guide on gun safety.

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.1