All week, the videos of the father, red-faced and shouting, or speaking deliberately as tears streamed into his salt-and-pepper beard, made it seem as though Richard Martinez’s anguish might turn him into the new face of the gun-control movement, says the Arizona Republic. Since last Friday, when Elliot Rodger murdered University of California-Santa Barbara student Christopher Michaels-Martinez and five others, Michaels-Martinez’s father has publicly processed his grief and rage on viral videos by calling for gun control and blaming “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.” Even as the videos racked up views on YouTube, political journalists spent the week writing that Martinez’s grief won’t affect the gun debate.
Thay is why gun-control advocates are already experimenting with new tactics after grieving fathers in Newtown, Ct., Tucson, and Aurora, Co., failed to spur action at the federal level. They are encouraging people to use their investments as an economic lever, reframing the conversation from the pulpit and writing new kinds of gun legislation. They are giving up on national solutions, shifting their focus to local applications of background checks and other firearms limits. This reset comes because, even after the Newtown killings, when a USA TODAY/Gallup poll said that 58 percent of Americans favored stronger gun laws — the highest percentage since 2004 — Congress chose not to pass legislation that would have extended background checks for gun sales, banned assault weapons and limited the size of magazines.