Stafstrom's Gun Violence Bills Go To Lamont
When this General Assembly session began, one of my highest priorities as the new House chairman of the Judiciary Committee was to write sensible, gun-safety legislation that would help the people of Bridgeport and other communities around the state feel safer when they step outside their homes.
While Connecticut has been at the forefront of passing legislation to address the issue of gun violence, there is still more work to be done, especially with urban violence.
Of the three bills I authored, the House and Senate have passed each one by a strong, bipartisan vote and have sent them to Governor Lamont for his expected signature:
- 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 7223 requires the safe storage of pistols and revolvers in motor vehicles
- 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
For each of these bills there is an appalling back story.
The bill known as Ethan’s Law was written after 15-year-old Ethan Song of Guilford accidentally shot himself last year while he and a friend played with a .357 Magnum that his friend’s father kept inside a Tupperware container stored in a closet.
Each year hundreds of thousands of firearms across the country are stolen from cars and homes and turn up in the hands of criminals. The need for HB 7223 has been 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.
Ghost Guns and 3D-printed firearms – developed in the past few years – 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.
Just the other day Waterbury police arrested a man, accusing him of carrying a loaded 3D-printed firearm in his waistband within 1,500 feet of a school for Jewish children.
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.
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.