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Shaheen Helps Reintroduce “Ethan’s Law” to Require Safe Gun Storage

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined a bicameral group of lawmakers to reintroduce Ethan’s Law, legislation that would require gun owners to safely and securely store their firearms. Loaded and unlocked guns in the homes of an estimated 4.6 million American minors are killing or injuring eight children or teens every day. Named in honor of Ethan Song, a teenager from Guilford, Connecticut who was tragically killed in 2018 by an unsecured gun in a neighbor’s home, the bill would create federal requirements for safe gun storage and establish strong penalties for any violations. Ethan’s Law would reduce access to unsupervised firearms often used in suicides, school shootings and other acts of violence.

“Ethan Song was just 15-years-old when he accidentally fired a gun that ended his life. This tragedy was preventable and shows why guns must be safely stored in homes where minors live,” said Shaheen. “That’s exactly what Ethan’s Law does, ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of our children. For the many communities reeling from gun violence, Congress has a moral imperative to take commonsense action.”

“Today marks five years since the ER doctor whispered, ‘your son is gone,’ and my family’s world shattered. We will never hear Ethan’s laugh, see his infectious smile or look into his beautiful green eyes again,” said Kristin Song. “We are walking an unimaginable journey; it is hell on earth. I know you don’t think it can happen to you. I didn’t either. Our goal in passing Ethan’s Law is to create a cultural shift where it becomes second nature for gun owners to secure their weapons if they are not in their immediate control. This law will not stop all the shootings, but it will stop many, and to those children and parents, that is priceless.”

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 under existing law. The bill also includes incentives for states to pass and enforce their own safe gun storage laws.

Ethan’s Law is endorsed by over 180 gun violence prevention and law enforcement advocacy groups, including the Newtown Action Alliance, Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Sandy Hook Promise and March For Our Lives.

The legislation is led in the Senate by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), and cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The text of the Senate legislation can be found here. A one-pager on Ethan’s Law is available here.

Shaheen is a strong advocate for gun violence prevention efforts. She was a key supporter of the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law last June. In July, she met with Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and local gun violence awareness advocates to discuss policies aimed at curbing violence and the need for additional measures to keep communities safe. Shaheen has long pushed to expand federal background checks for all gun sales, close what is commonly referred to as the ‘boyfriend loophole’ and prevent convicted stalkers from buying guns. Shaheen also released a statement in June of 2022 criticizing Governor Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans for their extreme bill – now law in New Hampshire – that prohibits the State from enforcing any federal statute, regulation or Executive Order related to measures to stem the epidemic of gun violence. Earlier this month, Shaheen cosponsored Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Assault Weapons Act, which would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.