Is it too much to ask gun owners to store their firearms in secure containers to prevent children from harming themselves?
We think not. And that’s what Congress is now considering taking action on: “Ethan's Law,” which is named for a Connecticut teenager, Ethan Song, who accidentally shot himself to death at a friend's home three years ago in Guilford.
The proposal was passed overwhelming by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2019 but died in Congress, when Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate.
Now, according to wire reports, Connecticut’s congressional delegation — all seven are Democrats — are pushing for approval in the new, Democratic-controlled Congress.
And the pandemic lockdown has only made the need more clear. In March and April of last year — just as the lockdown was getting underway — a gun-safety advocacy group reported an “alarming uptick” in accidental deaths of children under 17 from firearms. That period also saw a dramatic increase in gun sales nationwide.
“This is a child safety issue” and “a moral responsibility,” said 3rd District U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, “This is about keeping our children safe.”
Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song, likened it to “the same type of cultural shift that we've seen with car seats, with seat belts, with smoke detectors.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he believes there will be bipartisan support for Ethan's Law.
“This bill is not about taking away anyone's gun,” Blumenthal said. “… It's not about any other political issues. It's simply child safety.”
Various gun-control proposals have been shelved in Congress over the years, but wire reports indicate that gun control advocates are more optimistic now, with Democrats in control of both houses and the presidency.
Gun-rights supporters including the National Rifle Association say gun owners should make their firearms inaccessible to unauthorized people, the AP has reported, but they oppose laws telling owners specifically how to store their weapons.
Because Ethan’s Law could make that issue crystal clear, it should be passed.