It was one year ago this week that a 15-year-old Guilford boy accidentally shot and killed himself. The incident prompted lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee to raise two proposed new laws to require all guns, loaded and unloaded, to be locked at all times.
“This year we’re going to put forward four bills that we think will improve safety here in the State of Connecticut,” said Rep. Steve Stafstrom, the co-chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Two of those bills are a direct result of the death of 15-year-old Ethan Song who accidentially shot himself in the head with a gun stored in a closet in the home of a friend.
Republicans and Democrats joined gun control advocates today in pushing two bills that would require unloaded guns to be safely secured at all times either in a home or a car. The Ethan Song tragedy exposed a flaw in current law which only requires loaded weapons to be safely secured. “It is already a felony right now to improperly store a loaded firearm. This will make it a felony to improperly store a unloaded or loaded firearm. Any firearm,” said Rep. Sean Scanlon.
Advocates say a type of quick access gun safe requiring a combination to open, could have saved Ethan’s life. But a member of the state’s largest gun owners group, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, says there’s no way to enforce the proposal. “If it was actually preventative versus punitive, I would support it fully,” said Brooke Cheney of Harwinton.
Another bill proposes a ban on so called ghost or 3D printer guns. They have no serial numbers. Rep. Gail Lavielle along with other Republican lawmakers introduced the first such bill this session and says, “It’s important to our districts, it’s also important to be able to trace weapons to be able to cut down on crime.”
And the fourth proposal is one that has failed in previous years; a law that would allow law enforcement to require gun owners to show their gun permit upon request for any reason. Ray Bevis of Wolcott and the CCDL calls it a profiling bill adding, “It’s a ‘stop and frisk’ bill. To say, ‘Hey just because you have a firearm we’re going to stop you and identify you and frisk you down for doing nothing wrong other than carrying a firearm.”
One lawmaker has filed another proposal that would penalize the police if it was determined they were racial profiling the people that were asked to show their gun permits.
The CCDL also says it has done some research and found that a law dating back to 1990 allows the State Dept. of Education to implement a gun safety curriculum but never did.