Washington, Jul 11 (EFE).- The father of one of the victims of the deadly school massacre in Parkland, Florida, was escorted Monday from an event at the White House after disrupting President Joe Biden’s speech celebrating the recent enactment of a gun-control bill.
Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin Oliver, was one of 17 people killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shouted from the audience and demanded that more be done to end gun violence.
“Sit down. You’ll hear what I have to say. Let me finish my comment,” Biden said from the lectern to the man, who was removed from the event by White House security.
Biden said the new Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which he signed late last month and has been touted as the most significant gun-control legislation in 30 years, represents “real progress” and will save lives, though acknowledging that “more has to be done.”
Among other things, that legislation expands background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, provides for increased mental health and security resources in schools and prevents court-convicted domestic abusers who are, or were recently, in a serious romantic relationship with their victim from purchasing a firearm.
That latter provision closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” Previously, a court-convicted domestic abuser would have only been banned from obtaining a firearm if the person was married to, was living with or had a child with the victim.
During the event, Biden called once again for a new ban on assault rifles.
“They were banned. I led the fight in 1994, but then under pressure from the (National Rifle Association), gun manufacturers and others that ban was lifted in 2004,” the president said. “I’m determined to ban these weapons again, and high-capacity magazines that hold 30 rounds and that let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes.”
During the event, Oliver could be heard shouting out, “You have to do more.”
“You have to open an office in the White House. Name a director,” the man said. Biden responded, “we have one.”
A May 24 shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and three adults dead served to reopen the gun-control debate in the United States.
The Uvalde tragedy was preceded by a May 14, 2022, mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in which a white man killed 10 people in a predominantly African-American neighborhood.
Last week, a man opened fire at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven and wounding 39 others.
The gun-control issue is highly divisive in the US.
Democrats largely support stricter measures to reduce gun violence, while Republicans say laws that make it harder to obtain guns – including the most powerful, high-capacity weapons – infringe on their Second Amendment right to bear arms. EFE