Blumenthal, Murphy call for stronger gun locks

Danbury News Times

NEWTOWN - Connecticut’s top lawmakers have called for stronger standards for gun locks and firearm safes to keep weapons out children’s hands.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, introduced a bill calling on the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to announce standards for gun locks and safes after a survey showed 54 percent of gun owners reported storing firearms unsafely.

Blumenthal noted the 2018 death of 15-year-old Ethan Song of Guilford, who was killed accidentally while playing with a .357 magnum he found in a cardboard box at a neighbor’s house.

“Our bill … will help responsible gun owners keep weapons out of the hands of children or people who pose a danger to themselves or others,” Blumenthal in a prepared statement.

“This bill complements additional legislation we have introduced to create federal requirements for safe gun storage,” said Blumenthal. “I will fight for these vital gun violence prevention measures in honor and memory of Ethan Song, whose family has been a model of courage and public service in their advocacy.”

The Newtown-based trade association for the firearms industry said the Consumer Product Safety Commission already oversees firearm lock standards.

“Federal mandates to make these locks stronger would inevitably make them more expensive and would discourage people from buying a simple device to prevent firearms from being handled by those who should never possess them, including unsupervised children,” said NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva. “The senators could demonstrate their commitment to safe and responsible firearms storage by supporting the firearms industry’s proven and effective Project Childsafe campaign.”

Oliva was referring to an NSSF program that has given out 38 million firearms safety kits with gun locks nationwide.

Blumenthal and Murphy’s bill follows legislation passed this summer in Connecticut that mandates “the safe storage of all firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, in a home with a minor under eighteen years of age.” The law makes a gun owner liable for criminal negligence if an injury or death results from unsafe storage.

Introduction of the federal bill, which has companion legislation in the House of Representatives, follows Saturday’s 7th anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, when a 20-year-old gunman took his mother’s AR-15-style rifle from an unlocked closet, and killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook School.