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‘Immediate action’ on gun control sought

GOLETA, Calif. – Richard Martinez grew up around guns, shooting birds out of the fruit trees on his family’s farm. He later served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army before going on to become a criminal-defense lawyer, at times representing the young and the violent.

Now, Martinez is a grieving father.

He’s asking members of Congress to stop calling him to offer condolences but nothing more for the death of his only child, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, who was killed in the rampage Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“I don’t care about your sympathy. I don’t give a (expletive) that you feel sorry for me,” Richard Martinez said during an extensive interview, his face flushed as tears rolled down. “Get to work and do something. I’ll tell the president the same thing if he calls me. Getting a call from a politician doesn’t impress me.”

Saying that “we are all to blame” for the death of his 20-year-old son, Martinez urged the public to join him in demanding “immediate action” from members of Congress and President Barack Obama to curb gun violence by passing stricter gun-control laws.

“Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: ‘Not one more,’ ” he said Tuesday. “People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”

Martinez is the latest tragic figure to raise the mantle of gun control. Previous massacres and spasms of violence have produced urgent calls for new restrictions.

But these appeals have failed to translate into action by Washington. Nor have they significantly changed public opinion about further regulation of weapons.

Martinez vowed that he’s not going away.

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