House Passes Bills Targeting Gun ViolenceMay 8, 2019
Each year hundreds of thousands of firearms across the country are stolen and are turning up in the hands of criminals who injure and kill people in communities like Bridgeport where violent crime continues to plague our city.
It’s estimated that 2,600 firearms were stolen in Connecticut from 2012 to 2015 and that number is continuing to rise. Of the guns recovered by police, most of them have been used to commit other crimes.
Frequently, the stolen firearms are left unsecured in motor vehicles, but here in Connecticut we are taking steps to choke off that key source of gun thefts.
Today, the House of Representatives voted to approve bipartisan legislation requiring the safe storage of pistols and revolvers in motor vehicles. The legislation, House Bill 7223, now goes to the Senate for final passage and then to the governor for his signature.
The need for this legislation was demonstrated by tragedies in Connecticut communities. In Hartford a 10-year-old girl was shot and killed with a gun stolen from an unlocked car in Glastonbury. The shots fired at the girl were intended for a relative who was somewhere else at the time.
A report by NBC Connecticut found that other stolen guns included a semi-automatic pistol that was stolen from a car in a Cheshire driveway and recovered after a robbery at a West Hartford shopping mall. Two handguns, out of 14 reported missing from a Bloomfield home, were recovered at two separate crime scenes in Hartford.
To help reduce gun violence in Connecticut, the House yesterday also passed two bills that now will be taken up by the Senate:
- House Bill 7218, known as Ethan’s Law, requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with a minor under age 18; the bill also includes firearm safety programs in public schools
- House Bill 7219 bans "ghost guns" – weapons that have no serial numbers and circumvent our background check laws. The bill also regulates guns made on a 3-D printer
In Guilford just last year we saw what can happen when an unloaded firearm and ammunition are not kept out of reach from children. Sadly, 15-year-old Ethan Song is no longer alive because the gun and the ammunition that killed him were placed together in a cardboard box.
HB 7218, named after Ethan, would make violation of the statute a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine or both. The legislation also makes changes to laws related to firearm safety programs for school children by expanding the age range for participation to kindergarten through 12th grade.
Deaths and injuries from firearms happen every day and we have to continue looking for practical and effective legislation to stop these tragedies from occurring. Connecticut has been at the forefront of sensible gun regulation.
Under HB 7219, weapons known as ghost guns and 3D-printed guns will be banned. Ghost guns are partially completed weapons that do not meet the federal definition of a firearm and can be sold without background checks or serial numbers to anyone, including felons and people with mental illnesses.
As always, please feel free to reach me with any questions, comments or concerns at Steve.Stafstrom@cga.ct.gov or 860-240-1371. Please be sure to follow my official Facebook page for more frequent updates.