Kristin and Mike Song last saw their youngest son, Ethan, alive on Jan. 31, 2018.
That day, while hanging out at a friend’s house in Connecticut, Ethan was shot. He was rushed to the hospital, where his parents later learned he died. He was 15.
An investigation found Ethan was accidentally shot while he and his 14-year-old best friend were playing with a gun.
Kristin Song said the day her son died she’d had “probably one of the best conversations I had ever had with Ethan.”
“After he had got his braces off, Ethan was thinking about what his future was gonna be like,” she told CBS News.
Mike Song said Ethan’s death “feels like someone’s ripping your, physically ripping your heart out of your body while also shoving you off a cliff.”
“And we were probably on the floor for five minutes, just trying to cope with, you know, taking the next breath,” he said. “And then it occurs to you that your other children are about to get this body blow that will forever harm them.”
The gun Ethan and his friend were playing with belonged to the friend’s father. The 14-year-old was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to probation, according to the Songs. But because of state law at the time, the father could not even be found negligent for failing to secure his firearm.
“Ethan meant nothing in the eyes of the law,” Kristin Song said. “What the prosecutor said to us is, ‘You need to change the law.'”
The Songs helped pass Ethan’s Law in 2019 in Connecticut, requiring all firearms to be safely stored in homes occupied by minors under 18.
As of the start of 2024, 26 states had some form of gun-safe storage or child access prevention laws. In 2023, there were at least 377 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 145 deaths, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Violence.
Kristin and Mike Song said they are “100%” confident Ethan’s Law will eventually be adopted nationwide.
“I will not stop until it’s done,” Kristin Song told CBS News.