The father of one of the victims in a mass shooting near UC Santa Barbara is set to attend Tuesday's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.
Richard Martinez's 20-year-old son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, was shot during a killing spree in Isla Vista, near UCSB in May 2014. Since his son’s slaying, Martinez has spoken out for gun safety and began advocating for safer gun laws.
Seven people, including the gunman, were killed during the deadly shooting rampage on May 23, 2014.
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Over the summer, Martinez joined the staff of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the U.S., as an outreach associate.
"From statehouses, to ballot boxes, to corporate board rooms, major strides in gun safety have helped to prevent other families from experiencing the agony of having a loved one taken by gun violence," Martinez said Monday in a news release.
"As the 114th Congress begins their tenure, it is time they put the public safety of their constituents first, and that means making gun safety a priority to help reduce gun violence in America."
Martinez will attend President Obama’s State of the Union Speech as the guest of Rep. Lois Capps (D-California). According to her website, Capps is "honored" to be in Martinez’ company.
Corresponding with the State of the Union, Capps will reintroduce the Pause for Safety Act, legislation that aims to improve gun violence laws.
"...The State of the Union is an important time to highlight that we will not let this issue fade without action," Capps said in a news release.
"Mr. Martinez has dedicated his life to making sure that not one more family has to endure the pain he has. I will continue to work with him and my Congressional colleagues to push forward on Pause for Safety and other important measures to make our communities safer."
In an interview with NBC affiliate KSBY, Martinez said that he too feels honored because he knows that "she [Capps] cares about what happened to my son and she doesn’t want people to forget."
He added he "almost always" wears something that belonged to his son as a reminder. Tonight, Martinez is wearing Christopher’s shoes.
"I wish he was here," Martinez said.