The mother of Pulse nightclub shooting victim Christopher Andrew "Drew" Leinonen spoke out at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, calling for increased gun control in the United States.
Drew, 32, died with his boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and 47 others when a lone gunman attacked the gay Orlando nightclub in June in the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Christine Leinonen, 49, appeared on stage weeping, supported by Pulse shooting survivor Brandon Wolf (pictured, left), and Drew's ex-boyfriend, Jose Arriagada (right), as she remembered her son's accomplishments. "In high school he won the Anne Frank Award for starting the gay-straight alliance," she told the audience, many of whom rose up to cheer.
"Christopher's paternal grandparents met at a Japanese internment camp so it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate," Leinonen said.
She started her speech by recalling that it takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times. "The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute," she said.
Leinonen, who worked as a Michigan state trooper, remembered that on the day her only son was born, the hospital put her gun in a safe as a precaution. "I am glad common-sense gun policy was in place the day Christopher was born, but where was that common sense the day he died?" she asked mournfully.
Watch Christine Leinonen support Hillary Clinton in her son's name.