As she prepared to reintroduce legislation to reduce gun violence, Rep. Lois Capps announced that Richard Martinez — a nationally recognized gun-safety advocate and the father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, one of the UCSB students who was killed in the Isla Vista shooting spree last May — will be her guest to the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
By bringing Martinez to the annual speech, her office said, Capps hopes to push firearm regulation toward the top of the national agenda as a political stalemate in Congress continues to stall most proposed gun-safety legislation.
“The State of the Union is an important time to highlight that we will not let this issue fade without action,” said Capps in a prepared statement. “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.”
Capps will reintroduce her Pause For Safety bill on Tuesday before the address. The proposed legislation, which Capps originally introduced following the I.V. rampage, includes a policy that would allow citizens to temporarily seek “gun violence prevention orders” from a court to stop a family member who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. The bill also includes policies for warrants that would allow law enforcement to step in if a court finds the threat to be valid, and it would ensure that law enforcement can make full use of all existing state and local gun databases when investigating a warning or request from a family member.
California passed a similar law last September in response to the Isla Vista shooting, becoming the first state to allow restraining orders to confiscate a family member’s firearms. Martinez was instrumental in advocating for the passage of that law, a momentum he hopes to carry through to D.C.
“While in Washington on Tuesday,” said Martinez in a statement, “I’ll continue to urge legislators from both sides of the aisle to support common-sense gun laws — as we have seen statehouses do around the country — that will help save lives.” Chris Meagher, Capps’s press secretary, said that the congressmember will use the opportunity to work with Martinez to promote her bill because “she doesn’t want the issue to just fade away.”