Victim's Father Interrupts Biden, Who Agrees on New Gun Law

Advocates at White House and outside want stronger legislation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2022 4:39 PM CDT
Victim's Father Interrupts Biden, Who Agrees on New Gun Law
Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, interrupts President Biden as he speaks Monday on the South Lawn of the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

People affected by gun violence addressed a gathering on the White House lawn Monday to mark the passage of new restrictions involving weapons, then another shouted down President Biden from the crowd. Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., stood at his seat and shouted at Biden during the president's remarks, the Hill reports. "We have to do more than that!" Oliver shouted, per ABC News. "I've been trying to tell you this for years!" Oliver had already publicly criticized the bill as inadequate. Biden said, "Let him talk," then returned to his speech as Oliver was removed.

Biden's remarks reflected the same sentiment. "Make no mistake about it, this legislation is real progress, but more has to be done," the president said. The audience also heard from Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician in Uvalde who treated the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, and Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose mother, Ruth, 86, was killed in the attack at a Buffalo supermarket. "I spend half my days convincing kids that no one is coming for them," Guerrero said, adding, "Let this only be the start of the movement towards the banning of assault weapons." Whitfield read the names of the people killed in the supermarket and praised Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for winning approval of the bill. "We know that this is only the first step," he said.

The crowd also included survivors and family members from the Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland mass shootings, as well as others. Members of Gun Down America, March for Our Lives, and other organizations gathered outside the White House grounds to demand more be done about gun violence. Biden called for more, too, urging Congress to take such steps as banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, beefing up background checks, and passing safe storage laws. "We're living in a country awash in weapons of war," Biden said, adding, "What is the rationale for these weapons outside war zones?" (Oliver scaled a crane during a protest near the White House earlier this year.)

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