The parents of a Guilford teen who accidentally shot and killed himself at a friend’s house in January are pushing for a change to Connecticut’s gun laws.
Ethan Song was 15 when he died. His friend, an unnamed juvenile, was charged earlier this week with second-degree manslaughter in the case. But the gun in question belonged to that boy’s father, Daniel Markle. And he’s the one that Kristin Song holds accountable for her son’s death.
“Dan Markle knew the power of those guns and the damage they could do,” Song said. “It is Dan Markle who has Ethan’s blood on his hands. But instead of Dan Markle stepping up like a man and taking responsibility for his actions and his reckless storing of his guns, he is allowing his son to shoulder the blame. His son will carry that heavy burden forever.”
Ethan accidentally shot himself with Markel’s gun, which was stored in a bedroom closet in the family home. State investigators said the gun was secured with an operable gun lock. Efforts to reach Daniel Markle by phone and email were not immediately successful.
Last week, Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt declined to charge him, saying there was no evidence the gun was loaded or stored improperly. “Loaded” is the key word since Connecticut law requires proof that a gun was stored in a loaded state to charge someone with unlawful storage of a firearm.
Nearly a year after their son’s death, Kristin and Mike Song stood on the steps of the First Congregational Church in Guilford Tuesday to announce what they’re calling Ethan’s Law.
Mike Song said their proposed legislation would close a loophole around that keyword “loaded.”
“Unfortunately, in many of these cases you can’t prove who loaded the gun so it muddies the waters and nothing happens,” Song said. “By just removing that word ‘loaded’ out of the current statutes and creating Ethan’s Law we can really focus on what’s important and what matters most, how guns are secured.”
The Songs have filed a lawsuit against Markle that is still pending in state court.