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Santa Barbara Groups, Officials Remember San Bernardino Dead as Victims of Gun Violence

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson calls for ‘national ban on assault weapons’ after deadly shooting linked to terrorism

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, speaks against gun violence Sunday at a Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace gathering at West Beach. “There is no Second Amendment right that allows you to go out and kill people,” she says. “No more. It is time we act.” Click to view larger
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, speaks against gun violence Sunday at a Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace gathering at West Beach. “There is no Second Amendment right that allows you to go out and kill people,” she says. “No more. It is time we act.” (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Four days after an apparent terrorist attack in San Bernardino killed 14 people and wounded 21 others, members of the Santa Barbara community gathered at West Beach near Stearns Wharf to call for an end to gun violence. 

“There is no Second Amendment right that allows you to go out and kill people,” declared state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. “No more. It is time we act. It is far beyond that time.”

The Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace, Chapter 54, organized the event, which included Jackson, a representative from Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s office, the Coalition Against Gun Violence and other community groups.

The Dec. 2 massacre riveted the nation and placed a renewed spotlight on terrorism and gun violence.

Authorities say Syed Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, stormed a holiday party being held by Farook’s co-workers at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, and opened fire. In all, 35 people were gunned down, 14 of them fatally.

The couple left a remote-controlled pipe bomb behind when they fled, but it failed to detonate. 

Hours later and less than two miles away, the pair was gunned down in a fierce shootout with police.

After a search of the Farooks’ house in Redlands turned up pipe bombs, thousands of rounds of ammunition and more guns, the FBI said it was treating the attack as an “act of terrorism.”

While the couple’s motivation is still under investigation, authorities say Malik posted to Facebook a public declaration of loyalty to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, while their attack was underway.

In Santa Barbara, Veterans for Peace gather on the first Sunday of every month to erect signs in remembrance of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, 13 million war refugees.

This week, the group added 14 flags and a sign that read, “We Are All From San Bernardino.”

Sunday’s event began with Martin Urban playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Eric Friedman, Carbajal’s district representative, read the names of the 14 people killed in San Bernardino.

About 50 people gathered to watch the event, many of them tourists who leaned over the wharf’s railings to hear the speeches.

Jackson spoke passionately and angrily, frequently referring to shooters, including the suspect in the killings of three people at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, as “madmen.”

“We must have a national ban on assault weapons,” she said.

Jackson said shooters become “radicalized” for many reasons, including mental illness and hatred, but that is not what does the damage.

“The damage is done by the firearms,” she asserted.

She said lawmakers and the public must stop looking at the issue of gun violence as one of Republicans versus Democrats.

“Gun violence protection requires each one of us to take action,” she said.

Toni Wellen, chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence, said the public needs to vote out of office representatives who are supported by the National Rifle Association.

“The community of San Bernardino now joins Santa Barbara and so many others in a grief that never ends,”​ she said.

Ron Dexter, vice president of Santa Barbara Veterans For Peace, spoke first at the event. He said he doesn’t know why America has such a problem with guns.

Dexter, who served in the Korean War from 1953 to 1957, said he remembers a more peaceful time decades ago.

“People had guns in their closets, but people weren’t killing each other,” he said.

The gathering was briefly disrupted twice.

One man spoke softly during the open mic portion of the event and said that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., never happened, a statement that caused Jackson to drop her head in disgust.

Another man shouted from the audience that he was a veteran and that Sunday’s gathering was nothing more than political posturing. When Jackson shouted at him, asking him what his solution was, he replied with “more guns.”

“We respect those who put their lives on the line for our freedom, but our freedom also includes the right to exist,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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