Four people, each affected by a different high-profile mass shooting within the last four years, asked for the public’s help on Wednesday in pushing for stricter gun legislation.
"Don't wait until it happens to your family," said Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Michaels-Martinez died in the shooting in Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara earlier this year. "We all have our part to do to end the gun violence crisis in our country."
Martinez joined other victims and advocates in a press conference outside Santa Monica College, the site of a shooting last June in which six people were killed, including the gunman.
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Speakers also included Debra Fine, the first person shot in the bloody Santa Monica rampage; a woman who was with retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot outside a grocery store near Tuscon in 2011; and Congressional candidate Amar Kaleka, whose father was among six people killed at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.
The four speakers, all of whom are active in various causes involving gun violence victims, said they are united in demanding legislation such as background checks at gun shows.
"People ask me, 'What can I do?'" Martinez said. "Hold the politicians accountable."
The victims said they wished they had gotten involved in gun violence activism when they heard about the Newtown, Conn. elementary school mass shooting, instead of after they had become victims themselves.