The father of a 17-year-old boy who was killed in the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018 interrupted President Joe Biden on Monday to send a clear message about what the president had hoped would be a celebration of the newly passed gun law.
“We have to do more than that,” Manuel Oliver screamed.
Biden was applauding the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as proof that “despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence,” the president said.
When Oliver interrupted Biden, he initially responded: “Sit down. You’ll hear what I have to say.”
But as Oliver continued, Biden paused his speech and let Oliver talk. Although much of what he said couldn’t be heard in initial media recordings of the moment, Oliver told The Miami Herald he thought the White House Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate the legislation signed into law last month was not a good idea.
“There’s nothing to celebrate. It’s a big lie,” he said. “We lie between ourselves thinking we have a solution to this when we actually don’t.”
Oliver said he has repeatedly asked Biden to establish a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and he mentioned during his brief interruption that he’s been trying to say this for years. He told The Miami Herald he considered Biden’s ceremony his “chance to say something to the president, and that’s a chance we don’t have every single day.”
Oliver was eventually escorted out of the event, the newspaper reported.
The new law, the result of a bipartisan deal made filibuster-proof by support from 10 Senate Republicans and 10 Senate Democrats, includes “major funding to help states pass and implement crisis intervention orders (red flag laws) that will allow law enforcement to temporarily take dangerous weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves,” Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted of the legislation.
It closes the “boyfriend loophole,” “so that no domestic abuser – a spouse OR a serious dating partner – can buy a gun if they are convicted of abuse against their partner,” Murphy wrote. The agreement, described in a three-page summary, includes enhanced background checks for those under 21 years old and for younger buyers, as well as what Murphy calls a “short pause to conduct the check.”
“We’ve finally moved that mountain, a mountain of opposition, obstruction and indifference that stood in the way and stopped every effort of gun safety for 30 years in this nation,” Biden said during his speech on Monday. “Now is the time to galvanize this movement, because that’s our duty to the people of this nation.”
He called the legislation “real progress” but admitted “more has to be done.”
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