HR 748 : Ethan’s Law

Position: Support Status: House Judiciary Committee

This bill establishes a framework to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at the federal, state, and tribal levels.

At the federal level, the bill establishes statutory requirements for firearms on residential premises to be safely stored if a minor is likely to gain access without permission or if a resident is ineligible to possess a firearm.

An individual who violates the requirements is subject to criminal penalties. A firearm stored in violation of the requirements is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

At the state and tribal levels, the bill requires the Department of Justice to award grants to implement functionally identical requirements for the safe storage of firearms.

Update


Ethan's Law has 208 co-sponsors but Congressmen Schrader and DeFazio have NOT yet supported the bill.

Oregon Congresswoman Bonamici and Oregon Congressman Blumenauer are both cosponsors of Ethan’s Law. Congressmen Schrader, DeFazio, and Bentz are not cosponsors.

Please contact the Congressmen and tell them to support Ethan’s Law. 

Congressman DeFazio: 202-225-6416

Congressman Schrader: 202-225-5711

Congressman Bentz: 202-225-6730

From Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

Safe storage laws promote responsible gun-owning practices by requiring gun owners to store their firearms unloaded and locked when unattended. These laws are intended to help prevent unauthorized users, including children, from accessing and using firearms, which can reduce tragedies due to suicide, unintentional discharges, and gun theft.

More than half of all gun owners store at least one gun unsafely—without any locks or other safe storage measures.2

  • In fact, nearly a quarter of all gun owners report storing all of their guns in an unlocked location in the home.3
  • While some data suggests that gun owners with children in the home are slightly more likely than other gun owners to store firearms safely,4 roughly 4.6 million minors live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms.5

Unsecured guns in the home pose a substantial risk to children who may find and use them against themselves or others.

  • Household guns are a major source of weapons used by youth in violence against themselves or others. Between 70 and 90% of guns used in youth suicides, unintentional shootings among children, and school shooting perpetrated by shooters under the age of 18 are acquired from the home or the homes of relatives or friends.6
  • Accordingly, the risk of suicide and unintentional shootings among youth increases in homes where guns are kept loaded and/or unlocked.7

Unsecured weapons in homes and vehicles are also fueling an epidemic of gun thefts across the country. These guns may be diverted to the underground market, where they are used in crime.

  • Nationally–representative survey data suggests that approximately 380,000 guns are stolen from individual gun owners each year.8
  • From 2006 to 2016, the number of guns reported stolen from individuals increased by approximately 60%.9 Similarly, many cities have reported alarming spikes in the number of firearms stolen from cars.10
  • An analysis of more than 23,000 stolen firearms recovered by police between 2010 and 2016 found that the majority of these weapons were recovered in connection with crimes, including more than 1,500 violent acts such as murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery.11

Safe storage behavior can help to mitigate the risks of unsecured guns, with studies showing that these practices can prevent both firearm injuries and gun thefts.

  • Estimates suggest that modest increases in the number of American homes safely storing firearms could prevent almost a third of youth gun deaths due to suicide and unintentional firearm injury.12
  • Compared with people who stored their firearms unlocked and/or loaded, those who stored their firearms safely were less likely to die by firearm suicide.13
  • Gun owners who do not safely store their firearms are significantly more likely to have their guns stolen.14

Safe storage laws may help increase compliance with safe storage behaviors. In fact, one study found that states with a law in place that required handguns to be locked at least in certain circumstances experienced reduced rates of firearm suicide.15

Notes

  1. M. J. Bull, et al., “Firearm–related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” Pediatrics 105, no. 4 (2000): 888–895.
  2. Cassandra K. Crifasi, et al., “Storage Practices of US Gun Owners in 2016,” American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 4 (2018): 532–537.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Deborah Azrael, Joanna Cohen, Carmel Salhi, and Matthew Miller, “Firearm Storage in Gun–owning Households with Children: Results of a 2015 National Survey,” Journal of Urban Health 95, no. 3 (2018): 295–304.
  6. Renee M. Johnson, et al., “Who Are the Owners of Firearms Used in Adolescent Suicides?,” Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior 40, no. 6 (2010): 609-611; Guohua Li, et al., “Factors Associated with the Intent of Firearm-related Injuries in Pediatric Trauma Patients,” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 150, no. 11 (1996): 1160-1165; John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, “”The Gun is Not in the Closet,’” The Washington Post, August 1, 2018, https://wapo.st/2M2HSH6See also, Bryan Vossekuil, et al., “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States,” US Secret Service and US Department of Education, July 2004, https://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/preventingattacksreport.pdf; Tawnell D. Hobbs, “Most Guns Used in School Shootings Come From Home,” The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2018, https://on.wsj.com/2Eydv2f.
  7. David C. Grossman, et al., “Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries,” JAMA 293, no. 6 (2005): 707–714. See also, Matthew Miller and David Hemenway, “The Relationship Between Firearms and Suicide: a Review of the Literature,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 4, no. 1 (1999): 59–75; Daniel W. Webster, Jon S. Vernick, April M. Zeoli, and Jennifer A. Manganello, “Association Between Youth–focused Firearm Laws and Youth Suicides,” JAMA 292, no. 5 (2004): 594–601.
  8. David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael, and Matthew Miller, “Whose Guns are Stolen? The Epidemiology of Gun Theft Victims,” Injury Epidemiology 4, no. 1 (2017).
  9. Brian Freskos, “Missing Pieces: Gun Theft from Legal Gun Owners is on the Rise, Quietly Fueling Violent Crime, The Trace, November 20, 2017, https://bit.ly/2izST1h.
  10. Martin Kaste, “More Guns In Cars Mean More Guns Stolen From Cars,” NPR, May 9, 2019, https://n.pr/2MdG66e.
  11. Brian Freskos, “Missing Pieces: Gun Theft from Legal Gun Owners is on the Rise, Quietly Fueling Violent Crime, The Trace, November 20, 2017, https://bit.ly/2izST1h.
  12. Michael C. Monuteaux, Deborah Azrael, and Matthew Miller, “Association of Increased Safe Household Firearm Storage With Firearm Suicide and Unintentional Death Among US Youths,” JAMA Pediatrics (2019).
  13. Edmond D. Shenassa, Michelle L. Rogers, Kirsten L. Spalding, and Mary B. Roberts, “Safer Storage of Firearms at Home and Risk of Suicide: a Study of Protective Factors in a Nationally Representative Sample,” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 58, no. 10 (2004): 841–848.
  14. David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael, and Matthew Miller, “Whose Guns are Stolen? The Epidemiology of Gun Theft Victims,” Injury Epidemiology 4, no. 1 (2017).
  15. Michael D. Anestis and Joye C. Anestis, “Suicide Rates and State Laws Regulating Access and Exposure to Handguns,” American Journal of Public Health 105, no. 10 (2015): 2049–2058.