On September 5, 2021, Christian Petillo was staying the night at a friend’s house in Queen Creek, AZ. His friend brought out one of the family’s handguns, and Christian died from an accidental gunshot.

Christian would still be alive today, if not for a gun that should have never been in a teenager’s bedroom. The boys in the room that night made a mistake by handling a gun they should have never had access to, but they should have never been put in that situation in the first place. Christian lost his life and his do-over.

We lost our son that night, and this loss has been unbearable. We have been lifted up by family and friends, but our lives will never be the same. We have started No Do-Overs to help save lives and families through education, advocacy, and legislation that protects and prevents children and teenagers from gaining unauthorized and unsupervised access to guns.

Christian’s Law in Arizona

Guns are now the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the United States, and one of the primary drivers is improper storage. Similar to Christian, Ethan Song died after being shot with an improperly secured gun at a friend’s house in Connecticut. His parents, Michael and Kristin Song, worked to get Ethan’s Law passed with bipartisan support in 2019. Ethan’s Law requires that a gun, loaded or unloaded, be properly stored so that individuals under the age of 18 cannot access the firearm.

In Arizona’s annual Arizona Child Fatality Review Report, “In 2021, 56 children died from a firearm injury, and 100% of these deaths were determined to be preventable.” Our son Christian is one of the 56, and his death was preventable, as were the other 55 deaths of Arizona children and teens. Additionally, there have recently been multiple incidents where elementary school children and high school students went to school with loaded guns in their backpacks (link, link, link). We have an access and availability challenge when it comes to guns in this country, and something so simple as requiring gun owners to properly secure their firearms in homes where children under 18 live is not a gun rights issue, it’s common sense.

Additionally, a recent report from the non-partisan Rand Corporation concluded:

We find supportive evidence, our highest evidence rating, that child-access prevention  (CAP)  laws, or safe storage laws, reduce self-inflicted fatal or nonfatal firearm injuries, including unintentional and intentional self-injuries, among youth. In this update to our review, there is also supportive evidence that these laws reduce suicides among young people, supportive evidence that such laws reduce firearm homicides among young people, and moderate evidence that they reduce firearm suicides for this group. There is also supportive evidence that the CAP laws reduce unintentional firearm injuries and death among children, and limited evidence that they reduce unintentional firearm injuries among adults. Recommendation: States without CAP laws should consider adopting them as a strategy to reduce total and firearm suicides, unintentional firearm injuries and deaths, and firearm homicides.

Rand Corporation: The Science of Gun Policy

With the Songs, Arizona State Representative Jennifer Longdon, and others we are working to pass Christian’s Law here in Arizona. Ethan and Christian’s deaths were preventable, and we want to help protect and prevent children and teens from gaining unauthorized and unsupervised access to guns.

We are in the early stages of this journey, and we invite you to join us.

We know better. It’s time to do better.