Safe Storage

In 2015, an estimated 4.6 million children in the United States lived in a home in which at least one firearm was stored both loaded and unlocked.1 That’s why Sandy Hook Promise supports state and federal legislation that requires and sets standards for the secure storage of firearms.

What is "safe storage”?

To prevent children and other prohibited persons from accessing a firearm, all firearms should be:

  1. Securely encased.​ Firearms should be stored in a locked case, container, safe, lock box, or other device or storage area. Secure storage locations can only be unlocked by means of a key, a combination, a biometric reader, or other similar means. Recommended storage does not include a trunk, glove box, or other storage area of a motor vehicle. 
  2. Disabled or rendered inoperable by a firearm safety device. A firearm should either be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition or have a device or lock that is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device. These may include gun locks or biometric safety features, among other devices. ​
  3. In a location where it can’t be found by others. The location of the firearm should be known only to those legally allowed to operate it.

Why is secure storage important?

The safe storage of firearms protects young people from both accidental and intentional gun violence. Research has found that:
  • More than 2/3 of school shooters acquired the firearm(s) used in their attacks from either their own home or that of a relative.2
  • Over 75% of firearms used in youth suicide attempts and unintentional firearm injuries came from the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.3
  • 3 out of 4 children know the location of their parent’s gun in the home. 1 in 3 of these children admitted to handling the gun unsupervised.4
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, hundreds of child and adolescents’ deaths by firearm could be prevented each year with safe storage practices.5

What are Policies for Secure Storage?

In 2019, Sandy Hook Promise was proud to support the passage of Ethan’s Law in Connecticut. This law strengthens safe firearm storage requirements by closing state loopholes on criminal liability for the unsafe storage of a firearm that results in the death of a minor under age 18. The legislation was named in honor of Ethan Song, who died in an accidental shooting due to an unsecured firearm in 2018.

Sandy Hook Promise supports the federal version of Ethan’s Law (S.173 / H.R. 660). The proposed law would create penalties for the unsafe storage of firearms. It would also incentivize states to pass safe storage laws by providing them with federal funding for implementation. 

Governor Ned Lamont sign's Ethan's Law.
Support Ethan's Law
Ethan’s Law would create much needed federal standards for secure storage. Join us in supporting this life-saving legislation. 
  1. Firearm Storage in Gun-Owning Households with Children: Results of a 2015 National Survey. See the results

  2. The Final Report And Findings Of The Safe School Initiative: Implications For The Prevention Of School Attacks In The United States. Authored by the US Secret Service and the US Department of Education. Read the report

3. Self-inflicted and Unintentional Firearm Injuries Among Children and Adolescents. Read the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics

4. Parental misperceptions about children and firearms. See the research findings

5. Safe gun storage prevents child and teen deaths. Read the news from the American Academy of Pediatrics