Jake Johnson, Commom Dreams
Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, interrupted President Joe Biden on Monday as he delivered a speech hailing the recent passage of a gun-safety package that critics warn is far too tepid to substantially reduce raging gun violence in the U.S.
“We have to do more than that!” Oliver, one of a number of gun violence survivors and family members in attendance at the White House ceremony, yelled out as Biden said passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act marks “meaningful progress.”
“Sit down, you’ll hear what I have to say,” Biden said as some in the crowd applauded Oliver, who was escorted from the event.
The president went on to acknowledge that the new law—which doesn’t include universal background checks or a ban on assault weapons—is “not enough.”
“We all know that,” Biden said in his remarks, which came a week after a gunman killed seven people at a Fourth of July parade in Illinois.
President Biden to protester: "Sit down. You'll hear what I have to say." pic.twitter.com/FZvMZoLam5
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 11, 2022
In a telephone interview with the Miami Herald following the White House ceremony—which the Biden administration dubbed a celebration of the newly enacted bipartisan gun law—Oliver said that “there’s nothing to celebrate.”
“It’s a big lie. We lie between ourselves thinking we have a solution to this when we actually don’t,” said Oliver, who founded the advocacy organization Change the Ref. “It was my chance to say something to the president, and that’s a chance we don’t have every single day. That’s pretty much what this is about.”
Later Monday afternoon, Oliver and other advocates were set to hold a press conference urging Biden to use his executive authority to establish a National Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
There have been more than 300 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year