PALO ALTO, Calif. – On August 10, 1999, a Filipino post office worker, Joseph Ileto, was gunned down by a known white supremacist Buford Furrow, Jr. Furrow walked into the lobby of the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, California and opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, firing 70 shots into the complex.
Ileto died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and one to the back of his head.
That day, Mindy Finkelstein was there. She suffered two bullet wounds to her leg.
"I’ve learned since the shooting that Joseph Ileto was a wonderful man. It’s unfortunate that he had a different fate that day, than the rest of us who were shot at," she said.
Finkelstein was among those who took part in a rally against gun violence over the weekend, as part of President Barack Obama’s national day of action supporting gun control.
Democratic Representative Jackie Speier said, “That’s what this issue is all about. It’s about families and moms and dads coming together, saying ‘enough’! Let’s put some laws in the books that regulate gun ownership. That’s all we’re trying to do.”
Coinciding with the rally against gun violence was a gun buyback program at the East Palo Alto City Hall where gun owners surrendered or sold their working weapons for up to $300 on a no-questions-asked basis.
A 2010 government report showed that murders involving the use of handguns in the U.S. totaled more than 6,000.
Ruben Abrica, mayor of East Palo Alto said, “It’s important for people to speak up. There’s a lot of misinformation, a lot of intimidation by the gun industry and the National Rifle Association to confuse people. The reality that we know based on statistics is that the more guns are out there, the more likely that violence will happen and it could be fatal.”
To this day, America continues to be divided over the issue of gun control. A recent Pew/USA Today poll shows that half of Americans support stricter gun control laws, while 46% place more importance on protecting the right of Americans to own guns.