A new law proposed by State Representative Sean Scanlon would serve to strengthen wording on existing law regarding gun safety and law enforcement, mandating safe storage of both loaded and unloaded firearms, and mandating liability when there is a failure to do so and the firearms can be accessed by a minor under the age of 18.
The law is referred to as “Ethans Law” in honor of Ethan Song, a Guilford boy who died of a gunshot wound. The owners of the firearm avoided criminal prosecution as the gun was not kept loaded, something required by existing law, despite the bullets being stored close by.
The bill also changes existing law regarding firearm safety training. Current law states that the State Board of Education “may” develop a firearm safety curriculum for students. The new law proposed by Scanlon and co-signed by state senator Christine Cohen changes the “may” to “shall,” maintain the establishment of such a curriculum.
While the law would require the establishment of a curriculum by the State Board of Education, it does not mean it must be taught in each town in the state. Instead, each town, or each Board of Education, would decide if it wanted to include the curriculum in the local education system.
The question of firearm safety as part of school curriculum is not new. While the debate has often taken a political turn, there has often been bi-partisan support for the measure.
For example, William J. Piercy, assistant supervisor of staff development and health in Carroll County, Maryland, helped expand the training as part of health education almost two decades, with the curriculum developed as a collaboration with education and law enforcement officials, and with much support from the families of victims of gun violence or accidents.
Relevant articles: Baltimore Gun Safety Classes from 2000
Relevant article: Debate.org; Should Gun Safety be Taught in Schools?
For Scanlon, the addition of the measure in the CT proposal is an effort to bring all sides of the gun issue together. Typically, those pushing for more gun education has been proponents of gun rights, while opponents have pushed gun restrictions. “Ethan’s Law” would include both aspects: while it does not mandate any town include gun safety training, it makes the path to such training easier by having an established curriculum, and at the same time makes gun responsibility a larger priority for gun owners, increasing liability for how a firearm may be stored.
But local school boards would have a series of decisions to make, and would likely face significant public input. What ages would be taught? Who would teach it? Can parents their children out of the program?
By mandating the state Board of Education develop a curriculum, it keeps educators in charge of what is taught, and avoids what could be different programs for each town in the state, creating a uniform program statewide for towns that wish to use it.
Where do you stand? Below is a series of poll questions on the issue, please take a moment to be heard and we will forward the results to state legislators. For additional remarks, please use the comment below.
Should Gun Safety Be Taught in Schools?
A new proposed law would allow local Boards of Education to decide if they wanted to implement curriculum on gun safety in their towns. Would you like to see gun safety training in your town?
What Age is Appropriate for Gun Safety Education in Schools
A new proposed law would allow local Boards of Education to decide if they wanted to implement curriculum on gun safety in their towns. What age group would this be appropriate for?
Would you opt your child out of the firearm safety education in your school?
A new proposed law would allow local Boards of Education to decide if they wanted to implement curriculum on gun safety in their towns. If adopted in your town, would you opt your child out of the program?