Daily living as a survivor is different. Every single day I am reminded of the days my niece, 19-year-old Veronika Weiss, didn’t get to live because someone who shouldn’t have had a gun had one. There isn’t a day that I’m not reminded of some thing Veronika won’t get to experience.
My niece was murdered on May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, while she walked with two sorority sisters early in the evening near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The shooter had anger in his heart and the will to kill as many as he could. He had the weapons and the ammunition to terrorize an entire community of college students. Every day since she was murdered, I have worked in Veronika’s honor to make our communities safer from gun violence. I have worked for better gun laws, gathering hundreds of signatures for initiatives that have become groundbreaking laws in Washington State. I have worked for candidates that have gun sense and are champions in the movement. I have written letters, testified to legislators, traveled to Washington D.C. and spoken to my lawmakers. And I’ve spoken to groups, sharing Veronika’s story in hopes that no family will have to experience the heartache that my family endures every day. Living as a survivor changes you. Gun violence changes you.