Wednesday marks four years since the Isla Vista massacre that left six people dead.
On May 23, 2014, a 22-year old man stabbed his three roommates to death before driving through the college town, shooting at and ramming people with his car.
All of the victims were students at University of California, Santa Barbara:
- George Chen, 19
- Cheng Yuan Hong, 20
- Weihan Wang, 20
- Katherine Cooper, 22
- Veronika Weiss, 19
- Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20
Michaels-Martinez was a graduate of San Luis Obispo High School. His father, Richard Martinez, has since become an advocate for gun safety and is a spokesperson for the national organization “Everytown for Gun Safety.”
Since the 2014 massacre, he says there’s been slow but steady progress at a state level when it comes to gun safety, but there’s still much to be done.
"We sent Chris to UCSB, he loved it there, he was so happy and to think he would be shot and killed in a place we thought was safe was just, you know, but it happens everywhere in this country,” Martinez said. “Ninety-six Americans today, on an average, if it’s an average day, will be shot and killed. Some of those are suicides, some of those are homicides."
Martinez says he travels the country speaking to families and friends of victims, as well as survivors of gun violence.
On Wednesday, UCSB will hold a memorial for the victims from 6:30-8 p.m. at Storke Hall on campus.
Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) is the co-sponsor of a bill known as the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act (H..R. 2598), which was introduced one year ago Wednesday. According to Carbajal, there are 100 Democrats and Republicans cosponsoring the legislation in Congress.
On this four year anniversary, Carbajal sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urging a vote to take enact the bipartisan measure on gun safety.
“Four years ago, the lives of six University of California, Santa Barbara students were cut far too short in a tragedy that could have been prevented had law enforcement been given the proper tools to help those that pose a risk to themselves or to our communities,” Carbajal said in a statement. “The anniversary of the tragedy in Isla Vista is yet another painful reminder of the stunning inaction by this Republican Leadership in Congress to address our gun violence epidemic.”
To see a full list of the proposed legislation, click here.