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May 28, 2014

Lawmakers, mourners weigh in on California rampage

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — Thousands mourned the deaths of their classmates at a California university, lawmakers proposed ways to prevent the next round of deaths, and the rampant presence of guns were at the forefront of both discussions as a rampage that left seven dead reverberated across the state.

Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 20, died in the attacks, spoke at Tuesday's memorial on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, emphasizing that he did not speak for all the victims' relatives or even his former wife, Michaels-Martinez's mother.

But he urged students to fight for tougher gun laws, and placed the blame on what he called the inaction of politicians.

"They have done nothing, and that's why Chris died," Martinez said. "It's almost become a normal thing for us to accept this."

He got much of the crowd to repeatedly chant "Not one more," in reference to such massacres, a phrase he shouted before reporters and television cameras the day after Friday's massacre.

The school canceled classes and declared a day of mourning and reflection, four days after the shootings and stabbings in the Isla Vista community by 22-year-old community college student Elliot Rodger, who had posted an Internet video outlining his plan to slaughter as many people as possible.

Rodger had legally obtained three semi-automatic handguns and still had 400 unspent rounds of ammunition when he shot himself to death, authorities said.

On the same day, two California Assembly members proposed legislation that would create a gun violence restraining order that could be sought from a judge by law enforcement at the request of family members and friends.

"When someone is in crisis, the people closest to them are often the first to spot the warning signs, but almost nothing can now be done to get back their guns or prevent them from buying more," said Democratic Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who sponsored the measure with Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.

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