WASHINGTON – More than three years after her 9-year-old daughter was shot and killed, Roxanna Green’s heart breaks all over again when she sees another shooting on the news.
“When we laid her to rest, my heart broke,” Green said of her daughter, Christina-Taylor, one of six people killed in the Tucson shooting that wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. “My heart is still broken.”
Green joined other relatives of victims from other mass shootings – some grieving for years, some for less than a month – at a news conference Tuesday where they called on Congress to take action and put an end to gun violence.
They stood tearfully, holding pictures of loved ones who were lost to gun violence – in Tucson, at Virginia Tech, at Aurora, at Newtown, at the University of California Santa Barbara and in other attacks.
Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Michaels-Martinez was killed last month at UC Santa Barbara, cited Tom Mauser, whose son, Daniel, was killed in the 1999 Columbine shooting.
“My son Chris has been dead for 26 days, and there is a hole in my heart that nothing can fill,” Martinez said. “Daniel Mauser has been dead 15 years and what has been done?”
It was Martinez who demanded “not one more,” after his son’s death. That rallying cry was taken up by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who kicked off a postcard campaign demanding action from elected officials on gun violence.
They said that more than 600,000 people have signed up to send a “Not One More” postcard to their congressman, their governor and each of their senators- more than at least 2.4 million postcards in all.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is one of those targeted in the campaign, with the two groups pledging to deliver the postcards to his Phoenix office Friday.
Flake could not be contacted for comment Tuesday, but his office released a statement citing his support of past legislation calling for background checks on gun buyers.
“In order to ensure background checks include those with mental health issues, Sen. Flake is an original cosponsor of legislation that would assist states and federal agencies in providing mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” the statement said.
Green serves on the advisory board of Everytown for Gun Safety, which said it supports reforms that respect the Second Amendment and protect people. She said Tuesday that she has been comforted by the growing number of Americans who have united to end gun violence.
“I have dedicated my life to help keep other families from suffering this horrific pain,” she said.
Speakers expressed hope Tuesday that they may see some progress made on gun legislation before the end of this year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was quoted in published reports last week saying that bipartisan gun background-check legislation could be brought back up again this year.
The Senate voted 54-46 last year in a procedural vote for the so-called Manchin-Toomey bill, which needed 60 votes to pass.
Calls to the National Rifle Association seeking comment were not immediately returned.
But Green said it is time for Congress to act.
“Not one more parent should have to wonder who their child would have grown up to be,” she said. “And not one more politician should vote with the NRA instead of with American families.”