Pulse victim's mother asks for 'common-sense gun policies' at DNC


The mother of one of the victims who died in the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse called for "common-sense gun policies" to a somber crowd at the Democratic National Convention. 

Christine Leinonen lost her only son Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, 32, who was killed on June 12 along with his fiancé Juan Guerrero, 22, and 47 others that early Sunday morning. Two of Drew Leinonen's friends, Brandon Wolf and Jose Arriagada, were on the stage with Christine Leinonen holding her hands tightly as she spoke. 

"It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times," Leinonen tells Democratic delegates. "I know this because last month, my son Christopher, his boyfriend Juan and 47 others were murdered at a club in Orlando. Christopher was my only child. As I used to tell him, you can’t do better than perfect." 

Leinonen says her son was a "big Hillary supporter" whose belief that "love trumps hate" was etched in his DNA: His paternal grandparents met and fell in love at a Japanese internment camp. The mother remembers the day Drew Leinonen was born, she was still a Michigan state trooper. During labor, the hospital put her gun in an off-duty safe. She says she didn't argue because it was a common-sense gun policy. 

"The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute," she says. "An Orlando city commissioner pointed out the terrible math. One minute per gun to fire so many shots, five minutes per bell to honor so many lives. I’m glad common-sense gun policy was in place when Christopher was born, but where was that common sense the day he died?
I never want you to ask that question about your child. That’s why I support Hillary Clinton." 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.