Co-Chairs of the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence
T. Christian Heyne
Christian Heyne has served as a Legislative Assistant and Grassroots Coordinator with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence since May 2010. Christian grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, a city that is one of America's safest. He began advocating for better gun laws after his parents were shot on Memorial Day 2005 while returning a boat from a holiday vacation. His father survived multiple gunshots, but his mother was killed. Christian and his father, Tim, started a chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Ventura County, where they helped to pass a number of local ordinances, including one that requires the reporting of lost and stolen handguns within the county. While attending California State University, Chico, Christian started the first collegiate chapter of the Brady Campaign. The chapter was able to raise awareness through lie-in events and other campus activities, and also lobbied in the state legislature for bills like AB 1471, which implemented microstamping technology as a crime-solving tool in California. After receiving a Legal Studies Degree and a Paralegal Certificate from Chico State, Christian moved to Washington, D.C., where he now resides.
Omar Samaha has served as a Legislative Assistant and Grassroots Coordinator with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence since September 2011. Omar was born in Fairfax, Virginia. A 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech, his youngest sister Reema also attended college there and was killed in the mass shooting on the VT campus in April 2007. Since then, Omar has been an advocate for gun violence prevention. Omar helped expose the "Gun Show Loophole" on ABC’s 20/20 by filming undercover at a Virginia gun show in April 2009 (purchasing 10 guns in one hour without undergoing a single background check). In 2011, he traveled around the country representing the "Fix Gun Checks Tour," which was launched by Mayors Against Illegal Guns in February of that year. The tour highlighted the 34 Americans who are murdered each and every day with guns and covered more than 56 cities, where Omar met with survivors of gun violence, mayors, law enforcement officials, faith leaders and gun owners. The final tour stop was on Capitol Hill, where Omar and 60 other gun violence survivors called on the U.S. Congress to fix our national background check system for gun purchases, and apply those checks to all gun sales.