Critical news of interest to our readers.

CT Against Gun Violence applauds state Senate lawmakers who joined their House counterparts in passing three gun safety bills on a bi-partisan basis. This marks the first time in history that the legislature has passed three separate bills in the same legislative session. CAGV commends the efforts of the Senators who championed the bill, including Senate President Martin Looney, Majority Leader Bob Duff, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and Senate Judiciary Chair Gary Winfield. 

Jeremy Stein, Executive Director of CT Against Gun Violence said, “The large and bi-partisan majorities that voted for stronger safe storage requirements and to ban ghost guns is a victory for the people of Connecticut.” Stein noted, “The historic action of passing three important bills in one session reflects that voters in Connecticut want legislators to pass tough, but common-sense, measures to keep Connecticut safe from gun violence.” He continued, “Legislators took decisive action because they know these measures will prevent gun deaths from unintentional shootings, criminal activity, mass shootings and suicide by keeping guns out of the hands of unauthorized users.” Governor Lamont is on record supporting all three bills.

With record-setting bi-partisan and virtually unanimous support “Ethan’s Law” passed 34-2. HB-7218 requires all firearms, loaded or unloaded, to be securely stored when minors under age 18 are in the home. Under current law, only loaded firearms need to be secured, and only if children in the home are below age 16. The Senate also passed HB-7223 with bi-partisan support, 20-15. The bill prohibits unsecured handguns from being left in unattended vehicles. With this measure, Connecticut will become one of fewer than 10 states to require firearms in unattended vehicles to be secured in some manner.

Also with bi-partisan support HB-7219, the bill to ban ghost guns, passed xx-xx. Proponents of the bill noted the growing problem of ghost guns in Connecticut, calling attention to the multiple arrests that have been made and guilty pleas secured in Connecticut over the past year for individuals selling assault weapons assembled at home, including to convicted felons.

Melissa Kane, President of CT Against Gun Violence said, “We are proud that Connecticut continues to serve as a model for how lawmakers, regardless of party affiliation, can work together to protect their constituents from gun violence.”  Passing the three bills is a reflection of CAGV’s relationships and ongoing dialogue with legislators from both parties, and the organization’s ability to mobilize its supporters as well as those from other gun violence prevention organizations such as Moms Demand Action, Mothers United Against Violence and Newtown Action Alliance. Remarked Terra Volpe, Outreach Director for CAGV, “The collaboration among all the Connecticut-based gun violence prevention organizations was tremendous. For the past two weeks dozens of advocates have worked side-by-side in the Capitol to send a unified message to legislators: keep our citizens safe from gun violence; pass these common-sense gun laws.”

We’re thrilled to report that tonight the Connecticut House of Representatives passed two of our three priority gun bills, reflecting broad constituent support for tough, but common-sense, measures to keep us safe from gun violence. We expect the third bill to get a vote on Wednesday. 

With record-setting bi-partisan support “Ethan’s Law” passed 127-16. HB-7218 requires all firearms, loaded or unloaded, to be securely stored when minors under age 18 are in the home. We are enormously grateful to Kristin and Mike Song for their tireless advocacy for the bill.

Also on a strong bi-partisan vote HB-7219, the bill to ban ghost guns, passed 108-36. 

In a move that may signal a new dynamic in the legislature, those who opposed the bills kept their rhetoric to a minimum. That allowed both bills to be debated and voted on in less than two hours—a marked change from past years. 

What’s next? On Wednesday, May 8, we’re expecting a vote in the House on HB-7223, to prohibit the unsecured storage of handguns in unattended vehicles. Immediately after we’ll turn our attention to getting all three bills called in the Senate. 

We are very pleased to let you know that the four gun safety bills before the Judiciary Committee have been voted favorably out of committee with bipartisan support. This is an important milestone in the legislative process, and a significant accomplishment for gun violence prevention advocates.  

Thank you to all of our supporters who have worked so hard over the past three months by contacting legislators, submitting testimony, attending press conferences and the public hearing. It’s your advocacy that drove today’s success.

The four bills voted out of committee are: H.B. 7218 and H.B. 7223 to strengthen firearm storage requirements, H.B. 7219 to ban ghost guns and S.B. 60 to require individuals openly carrying a firearm to show their permit upon the request of a law enforcement offer.

The priority now is to bring the bills to a vote as quickly as possible. We’ll be coming back to you shortly with a more detailed call to action, but in the meantime if you’re speaking to your state legislators, please ask them to co-sponsor H.B. 7218, H.B. 7223 and H.B. 7219, the focus of our advocacy. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.

Descriptions of each of the bills are below.

H.B. 7218, An Act Concerning the Safe Storage of Firearms in the Home
Expands the conditions under which firearms must be securely stored in the home to include unloaded firearms (currently only loaded firearms are covered) and applies it to homes with minors aged 16 and 17 (currently only 15 and younger).

BENEFIT: Prevents unintentional shootings, firearm suicide by family members other than the gun owner, especially teens (80% of child and teen firearm suicides use a gun belonging to a family member) and school shootings (In 75% of cases, guns used in school shootings came from the shooter’s home or that of a relative).

H.B. 7223, An Act Concerning the Storage of a Pistol or Revolver in a Motor Vehicle
Requires handguns in motor vehicles to be kept in a securely locked safe when the vehicle is unattended.

BENEFIT: Prevents gun theft. Most firearms recovered from crime scenes are stolen.

H.B. 7219, An Act Concerning Ghost Guns
Bans firearms without serial numbers and regulates so-called “ghost guns” (kits that allow assembly of guns at home without requiring a background check and permit) and 3D plastic printed guns the same as Connecticut regulates other firearms.

BENEFIT: Prevents firearms from getting in the hands of dangerous individuals not permitted by law to possess a firearm. Prevents the manufacture of untraceable guns that are sold illegally to other prohibited persons. Prevents the manufacture of guns undetectable by metal detectors.

S.B. 60, An Act Concerning The Presentation Of A Carry Permit. 
Requires individuals openly carrying a firearm in public to show their permit, that they are required to have on their person, upon the request of a law enforcement officer.

BENEFIT: Protects public safety by enabling law enforcement to determine if an individual with a gun visible is legally allowed to carry the firearm in public.