The parent of a teenage victim in the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has finally met with White House officials after protesting outside for two weeks, seeking action on gun control from Joe Biden.
According to WPLG News, Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son Joaquin was one of the victims killed in the shooting, met with Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond, a senior advisor to the president, and other unidentified administration officials. Afterward, he issued a statement.
“I expressed my frustration with the administration’s limited focus on this critical issue,” Oliver said, “and communicated my expectation — and the expectations of survivors across the country — that the administration will step up its commitment in year two and outline a clear plan of action at next year’s State of the Union. Guns and the NRA have been winning the battle in favor [of] murder and pain. It’s time we truly declare war on gun violence and no longer wait around for the perfect political posturing climate.”
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Seventeen students and adults were killed in the attack. The Parkland incident was the launchpad for a nationwide gun control movement, started by high school-age students and quickly appropriated by adults in the gun prohibition lobby as the “March for Our Lives” crusade.
Earlier this week, CBS News reported the Broward County school district will pay more than $26 million to the families of the Parkland victims.
Oliver was reportedly joined by another Parkland parent, Fred Guttenberg, who also became a gun control activist. He also lost a child in the shooting.
I just left a meeting at the @WhiteHouse with @manueloliver00. We met with @AmbassadorRice, @Richmond46, @StefFeldman & @HannahBristol. We had a very engaged conversation about the status of gun violence efforts & how much more needs to be done. My friend Manny is going home. pic.twitter.com/v4gbe8UQ68
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) December 16, 2021
“Based on our conversation,” Oliver’s statement added, “I believe that the White House understands the urgency of addressing this crisis and the need for the President to become more involved. As a result, I expect to hear him outline a clear plan early next year and I will continue to work to hold him accountable to all of the promises he made to me and my wife Patricia and survivors across the country. Together, we will beat the NRA and build a safer future for us all.”
But what does Biden want to do? Earlier in the week, CNN reported that the president used the anniversary of another school shooting—Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut—to call on the U.S. Senate to pass three pieces of legislation, “one on background checks, one aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of abusers and the Build Back Better Act, which includes programs for community violence intervention.”
It is not clear how any of those three measures would have prevented Sandy Hook or Parkland.
Connecticut killer Adam Lanza murdered his mother and took her legally-purchased firearms to commit the mass shooting. Lanza killed himself as police responded to the shooting.
Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty in October to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges facing him, and according to Wikipedia, sentencing is expected next month.
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