The push for stronger gun safety laws to protect kids from accidental injuries, death

Ethan Song, 15, died while playing with a handgun at his friend’s house. His parents are among a group of people advocating for gun storage laws in hopes that other kids won't have the same fate.
9:58 | 06/04/21

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Transcript for The push for stronger gun safety laws to protect kids from accidental injuries, death
It was a scene made in America. It appears the female has a long gun pointed toward me. Juvenile male looks like he has something in his hand as well. Reporter: Florida deputies locked in a firefight with a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl. Hands up! Don't make me do this. Don't do this. Reporter: Exchanging gunfire with children. Hands up! Reporter: Volusia county sheriffs say they ran away from a group home, broke into a house, and found an ak-47, a shotgun, and a handgun in a bedroom. The 14-year-old was shot multiple times and she's fighting for her life right now in the hospital. Got eyes on her? Reporter: It is just one of thousands of chilling examples in a country awash with guns. 2-year-old son shot himself last week. A 9-year-old hospitalized after he was shot by his 2-year-old sister. Police say the girl's 5-year-old sibling shot her. Reporter: More than 4 million minors live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms. And so far this year, there have been more than 90 unintentional shootings by children resulting in at least 62 injuries and 36 deaths. America right now is in the middle of one of the worst moments in gun violence in modern history. Reporter: It's prompted mothers like Connecticut's Kristin song to take action. We're not going after the responsible gun owners, we're going after the negligent gun owners. Reporter: Testifying on capitol hill for stronger gun safety laws. What's your favorite book? Reporter: Three years after her son was killed. Pretty much any. We sang a lot, tons of dance parties in the kitchen, lots of hugs. We'd call ourselves the song 5. Reporter: When Kristin and Mike remember their days as a family of five, their memories are anchored by Ethan, their youngest child. He was amazing. And I always tell people, you can't really teach empathy. And Ethan just got it. One trait I loved about him the most was his compassion, empathy towards marginalized people, animals. People who didn't have a voice. He really took pride in championing them. You knw how teenage boys can be. Was he ever pushing the boundaries a little bit? Out of the three children, he was the one I worried the least January 21st, 2018 12 days after Ethan's 15th birthday, police showed up unannounced at the song doorstep. Cops said, you need to get to the hospital right away. That ws the last day of my life, my old life. The E.R. Doctor came in, leaned against the wall. He said -- He slid down. He started to slide down the wall. He said, "We couldn't save him, your son is gone." It was like you're falling off a cliff into this abyss. Reporter: They were told Ethan had been at his best friend's house. The teens were playing with a handgun. Ethan had been shot in the head. His face so disfigured, his parents were unable to see him at the hospital. I was really adamant that I wanted to sit with Ethan. Yeah. I was the one who brought him into this world. And I wanted to be the last one who say good-bye. And I wanted to apologize to him and tell him I was so sorry that I couldn't protect him. Because I really felt like that was my job. And that I failed. Totally failed him. Reporter: The song family's world dropping out from underneath them. Just hours before, Kristin had spent the morning with Ethan. His smile lighting up the house, having just had his braces removed that day. It was just a magical -- you know, we just had a great, great conversation. He knew what college he wanted to go to, he wanted to get married and have seven children, you know. I just remember I grabbed his he had the most beautiful green and I said, "You are going to make such a big difference in this world." Reporter: An investigation found that the handgun Ethan was playing with was one of three that had been stored in a cardboard box inside of a large tupperware container in the closet of the friend's father, unloaded and secured with an operable gun lock, but the keys to the gun locks were hidden under clothes in the same tupperware container. No charges were filed against the father because quote the gun owner's conduct in storing the guns did not violate the law and there was lack of evidence he had known or should have known the juveniles could have gained access to the guns without permission. Do you remember talking to Ethan about guns at any point? I definitely remember him taking one of these dart guns with a foam ball on the end of it and shooting it, and it bounced off my chest. And I said, hold everything. You ever have a gun in your hand, you never, ever, ever point it at anybody. I think kids make mistakes. That's what youth is for, that's what growing up is for. It's up to the adults to try to keep them safe. There are millions of gun owners in the United States who are under the false and deadly impression that they can educate their child out of making that bad decision with that gun. Reporter: John Woodrow cox is the author of "Children under fire: An American crisis." He says while mass shootings and school shootings are horrific, accidental shootings like Ethan's are far more deadly. We have more guns than people. Kids are going to find guns if they're unlocked. Then it's roulette. Parents who leave guns unlocked and loaded in their homes are playing roulette with their kids' lives. It's kind of impossible to imagine a level of grief larger than losing your son in an accident like this. How did you cope with it, if you could at all? Initially, early on, I just wanted to commit suicide. I just wanted to check out. The pain was so intense. I tell people, it's like you can't even catch your breath, it's like having a thousand stones piled up on your chest. What brought you back from the depths? My other son. And I was just staring at him, and I could not believe Ethan was not next to him at the breakfast table. And I remember thinking, that's it. Like, it's just -- it's over. Then he looked up and he said to me, "You're not going to hurt yourself, are you?" And he said, "Mom, if I lose another member of this family, I'm checking out too." At that point I was like, forget it, I have to live now. I have no other choice. Reporter: The song family motto now is "Honor through action." Their pain still real and raw but channeled into advocacy. We realize that if you lose a child, you gain a mission. And from there, we began working on Ethan's law. Love is the central guiding element of any great team. Reporter: After months of lobbying for safer gun storage laws, Kristin and Mike celebrated when the Connecticut legislature passed Ethan's law in 2019, requiring gun storage or a safety device in homes with a minor. This is just a pin code safe, it opens right up. Reporter: Devices like this, passcode protected safe box. Under Ethan's law, owners could face jail time in Connecticut if their weapon accidentally wounds or kills someone. Have some commonsense, life-saving laws -- Reporter: The songs are on a mission to make Ethan's law national, working with politicians like Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal. They run into each other at events like this gun violence rally in New Haven. What happened to them, every parent's worst nightmare. My children could have been Ethan. Every parent should feel that way about safe gun storage. Reporter: Senator Blumenthal invited Kristin to testify at that congressional hearing last I wanted to thank all of the gun owners who secure their weapons. Because Ethan would have been safe in your house. He would have walked out of your home and into my arms. Safe storage doesn't take a single gun away from any person. No matter who that person is. Safe storage leaves that gun in that person's possession. It just means it's stored in a place that other people can't get to it. And it makes such common sense. Reporter: Even so, some gun rights groups oppose safe storage laws, over concerns the devices could prevent quick access to weapons for self-defense. But E.R. Doctors like Megan ranny in Rhode Island believe more than laws need to be We can pass all the laws we want. But at the end of the day, we have to work with community groups. It's about changing the norms around the way that people store their firearms or their ammunition. And it's about making it a community standard, that you expect that your friends and neighbors are going to store their gun in a way that your family members can't get access to it. Reporter: She's just received funding from the CDC to study gun violence as a public health crisis. We look for risk factors, we look for ways to prevent the shooting from happening before someone actually gets wounded. And then we try to address that ripple effect of trauma which inevitably follows from any gunshot wound. Kristin, you talked about how on that day in 2018 you had told Ethan that he was going to make an impact. Is that part of what's driving you now? He's making a difference in this world, and I'm just a conduit of him making a difference in the world. Reporter: Two weeks from what would have been his graduation, Ethan's parents instead went to his gravesite. They know his death is permanent, but they're determined his legacy will be too. We just wanted to let you know that we love you, buddy. We'll see you soon. The national version of

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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