Steve Grichs first appearance on national television a numbing experience, he said lasted for about five minutes.
Nevertheless, he hopes his message makes an impact.
The Fort Mill father of a Clemson University student shot and killed late last year has thrown his support behind a proposed federal law that would ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require universal background checks for potential gun buyers, and install stricter mental health measures.
The background investigations, thats a good first step, Grich said Wednesday by phone from Washington, D.C., just minutes after attending Senate hearings and shaking hands with lawmakers.
Gun owners, said Grich who supports the Second Amendment 100 percent should be responsible for their weapons.
On Dec. 8, police say four men broke into 23-year-old Steven Gregory Grichs off-campus apartment looking for marijuana belonging to Grichs roommate. He was killed by a gun his father says was stolen from one of the intruders relatives.
Police have arrested four men in connection with Grichs slaying. No one has spoken with Steve Grich about any other motive.
Stevens proudest moment was getting into Clemson, Grich said. He worked hard to get into that school.
Six days after his sons slaying, Grich heard the news of another tragedy 20 children and six adults were gunned down by Adam Lanza, 20, when he stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
One of those victims was 6-year-old Jesse McCord Lewis, the son of Neil Heslin. Heslin and Grich went to middle school and high school together in Shelton, Conn.
They lost touch, but reunited through Facebook some time ago with plans to meet up one day.
They could never find time in their schedules, Grich said.
Its ironic for two people who went to school together to have their sons killed six days apart, Grich said. Were more or less support for each other.
On Tuesday night, the grieving fathers appeared on CNNs The Piers Morgan Show, and touted their views on proposed gun laws. Grich told Morgan he wants gun owners to be responsible.
Morgan frequently spoke with Heslin during the broadcast, giving him time to maintain he doesnt oppose the Second Amendment that gives Americans the right to bear arms.
Thats a defense everybody keeps talking about, Heslin said. I never said once Im not in favor of the Second Amendment. I support the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment also reads well-regulated.
Its clear that it hasnt been well-regulated. If it was, we wouldnt be having the problems and the mass murders that weve had, including Sandy Hook Elementary, which took my son Jesses life. Theres no reason that shouldve happened.
On Wednesday, Heslin tearfully testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, pushing for stronger gun regulation during a hearing focusing on banning ammunition magazines carrying more than 10 rounds like the Bushmaster, 30-round assault weapon Lanza used at Sandy Hook.
Also attending were family members affected by mass shootings in Newtown and Aurora, Colo. In all those shootings, Heslin said, the killers used firearms with high-powered magazine capacity.
Grich said the bill wont take guns away from current owners, only stifle manufacturing new weapons.
While at the Capitol, Grich realized many people including some from South Carolina didnt know the story of his sons death.
When one person gets killed, it doesnt seem like its that bad of a thing, Grich said. Theres always more power in numbers.
Having Heslin at his side has helped. Heslin told The Herald in a telephone interview that hes confident change is coming, though the process might be slow.
There has to be change, he said. Its an uphill battle and something Ill be pushing for even if it takes years.
Two months after his sons death, Heslin said, hes OK, not good, not bad; Im OK.
I wish I couldve gotten my hands on Adam Lanza ... but I have to be Jesses voice. I have to stick up for my son the only way I can.
Grich will return to Fort Mill either today or Friday, when he and his family will continue to take it one day at a time.
Its real hard, he said.
The Associated Press contributed.