Six years ago, my beautiful boy was shot in the head at his best friend’s house. His friend’s father stored his three handguns and ammunition in a shoebox. We later learned that Ethan’s friend, who had just passed the NRA safety course and grew up with guns, had been regularly accessing and showing his teenage friends unsecured guns for over six months.
Ethan’s death was not an outlier. Over 4.6 million children in America live in a home with access to an unlocked or unsupervised firearm. And one in five children have handled guns in the home without their parent’s knowledge. As a result, eight children a day are killed or injured by unintentional shootings—a type of “family fire,” or a tragedy resulting from unsecured access to guns. Family fire killed Ethan, despite being entirely preventable. We can start to end this war by safely storing firearms and asking about unsecured guns in the home where our children go to play.