Students, locals and members of nonprofit organizations gathered in front of I.V. Deli Mart Saturday to protest gun violence for the #NotOneMore campaign, a gun control movement started by Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, a victim of the May 23 Isla Vista mass murder.
Around one hundred attendees walked from I.V. Deli Mart to the killer’s apartment complex to the Alpha Phi sorority house and finally back to I.V. Deli Mart. During the march, campaigners listened as the names of those killed in each spot were read, shouting “Not one more!” after each name.
According to Lonnie Phillips with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the #NotOneMore campaign has amassed a following of nearly 1.5 million people.
Allie Clement, a UCSB alumna and spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said she was upset when she heard about the mass murder in Isla Vista but has channeled that emotion into trying to ensure such events do not happen again.
“I really feel like this is my other home, and I was completely devastated when I heard that this happened,” Clement said. “Now I’m even more motivated to want to make a difference and to help other young people feel like they can do something.”
According to Clement, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is striving to sign mandated background checks into law.
“Right now, on a federal level, only sales that go through a federally licensed firearms dealer have a background check,” Clement said. “Private sales don’t have background checks, so it’s basically closing loopholes so that felons and the dangerously mentally ill can’t get firearms.”
While gun control activists hope to push through legislation to tighten firearm laws nationwide, Clement also said the goal is not to restrict the Second Amendment but rather to restrict firearm accessibility through stricter background checks for safety purposes.
“No one’s talking about banning guns or taking away anyone’s rights but just making sure that people who really shouldn’t have a gun aren’t able to get one,” Clement said.
Sandy Phillips, a Campaign Manager for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said she helped to organize the rally in part to show her support for Richard Martinez.
“He’s using his voice, he’s saying what needs to be said, and he’s angry,” Phillips said. “We need to get angry and say, ‘This is not okay. It ends today.’”
Prior to the walk through Isla Vista, Deputy District Director for Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, James Joyce III, spoke on the behalf of the senator, who was not able to attend.
“Her belief is that we need to focus on effectively treating mental illness, preventing violence, and keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people so that our communities are safe,” Joyce said.
According to Joyce, this past Tuesday Senator Jackson joined with Assemblymembers Das Williams and Nancy Skinner to co-author a bill to create a “gun-violence restraining order.”
“[A gun violence restraining order] would establish a way for concerned family members and friends to note by law enforcement if someone is demonstrating violence towards themselves or others,” Joyce said.
Additionally, she joined Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday “to announce mental health proposals including $12 million directed towards training to help law enforcement better recognize warning signs to the severely mentally ill.”
According to Joyce, one of Senator Jackson’s long-term goals is to de-stigmatize mental illness by addressing it as early as possible. Joyce also said Jackson hopes to redefine the gun debate and has said “time and time again” that the Second Amendment “is not an unfettered right.”
Kerina Yao, a third-year biopsychology major, said she thinks this effort to strengthen gun control laws is an appropriate response to the events of May 23.
“There are counterarguments saying that guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” Yao said. “But obviously guns is an easier way to do it, impersonal.”
Katherine Clark, a third-year communication and sociology double major who knew Katherine Cooper, one of the victims of the shootings, said she felt the rally helped her cope with the “shock and numbness” and grief that “comes in waves.”
“I think it’s really important for the students to support the victims, and for some people, that’s attending rallies like this,” Clark said. “A few years ago, I was supportive of gun rights, but the past few years and especially this has completely changed that.”
Clark said this change occurred after following various news sources and observing similar tragedies. In addition, her experience studying abroad was has caused her to critically view America’s attitude towards guns, she said.
“Just talking to people from all over the world, it’s ridiculous, the problems that we have here, meaning America’s fascination with guns,” Clark said. “That doesn’t exist elsewhere, and just hearing other people’s perspectives too really makes you look at the U.S. with a different lens.”
Photo by Daniel Slovinsky / Daily Nexus
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.