SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — The father of a student killed during the recent rampage near the campus of UCSB has teamed up with victims of gun violence and their proponents to fight for stricter gun-control legislation.
Richard Martinez was joined Wednesday at a news conference in Santa Monica, where the initiative was announced.
His son, Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, was fatally shot inside a convenience store he and the gunman frequented.
The elder Martinez made national headlines after the Isla Vista tragedy when he tearfully looked into news cameras and blasted Congress and the NRA.
“When will this insanity stop?” he implored.
KCAL9’s Dave Lopez was at the news conference where Martinez also introduced a survivor of a mass shooting and two relatives of other attacks.
Martinez told Lopez Wednesday he was using his grief to channel positive change.
“I gave my son this watch,” he said pointing to his wrist, “on Mother’s Day about two weeks before he was shot and killed,” Martinez said.
He never takes off the watch in memory and in honor of his son.
The new initiative is going to ask for tougher gun measures as well as tougher legislation aimed at the mentally ill.
Debra Fine, a victim of the Santa Monica shooting June 2013 that left six people dead, also spoke out.
“I was shot twice in the left shoulder,” she told Lopez, “and twice in the right, through the chest and through my ear. So, they had to replace my ear.”
Amar Kaleka, the son of one of the victims of a deadly shooting during an August 2012 rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, is also running for Congress in that state.
“I’m asking people to send postcards to their elected officials,” Martinez said. “With the words ‘Not one more.’ As of today, there have been more than 2.4 million postcards sent. But we are not done.”
He added: “I’m asking all Americans, don’t wait until it happens to your family. We all have our part to do to end this gun-violence crisis in our country.”
The group wants to elect candidates who favor stricter gun-control laws.
“We don’t care if they’re Tea Party, or Republican or if they are Democrat, or other issues they may have,” Martinez said. “If they’re correct with this issue, then we’re going to support them.”