Biden tells heckling dad of Parkland victim ‘Sit down!’ at White House event

Per: NYP – President Biden lashed out Monday at the father of a school shooting victim after the bereaved parent called for the White House to “do more” to counter a spike in gun violence.

“Sit down! You’ll hear what I have to say,” Biden said as Manuel Oliver shouted over him during a South Lawn celebration of bipartisan firearm policy legislation that Biden signed last month.

“You have to do more than this!” yelled Oliver, whose 17-year-old son Joaquin was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.. “You have to open an office in the White House!”

“I’ve been trying to tell you this for years! And years!” Oliver added as some audience members broke out in applause. 

“We have one. Let me finish my comments,” Biden pushed back on Oliver, before quickly adding, “Let him talk, let him talk.”

As Oliver was escorted out of the event, the president continued his planned remarks, saying: “Make no mistake about it, this legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.”

Hours later, Oliver joined other mass shooting survivors and family members of victims at a news conference held by gun control group Guns Down America.

“I just told the president, who I know personally, who I voted for, who I campaigned for, ‘President Biden, you’ve got to do more,’ Manuel Oliver said as his wife, Patricia, stood alongside him. “I have nothing to lose. I don’t have a problem by saying things the way that I say them … You cannot be polite with gun violence, because gun violence is not polite with you.”

“There was no need for this event,” Oliver added. “At all.”

Later Monday, Igor Volsky, the executive director of Guns Down America, tweeted that Oliver “stood up and urged @POTUS to do more and open a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention and appoint a Gun Czar.”

“POTUS failed to announce next steps today,” Volsky added in a subsequent tweet. “That’s disappointing.”

Joe Biden
Biden was heckled by a gun control advocate during an event commemorating the Safer Communities Act.

The bereaved father had tweeted Monday morning before the event that he was upset about plans to celebrate the new law, which includes enhanced background checks for would-be gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21.

“The word CELEBRATION has no space in a society that saw 19 kids massacred just a month ago,” Oliver wrote. “‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’ Not me, not Joaquin.”

“It’s like we’re going to a party, to a wedding today … I really wish there were more in this package of bills,” he told CNN in an interview before he went to the White House.

Manuel Oliver
Manuel Oliver interrupted the president’s remarks during the White House event on Monday morning.
Oliver is escorted out of the event after taunting Biden on the White House lawn.
Oliver is escorted out of the event after taunting Biden on the White House lawn.

Oliver has a history of drawing attention to the cause of gun control. In February, on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he climbed a 150-foot crane near the White House and unfurled a banner that bore a picture of his son’s face and added that “45K people died from gun violence” on Biden’s “watch.”

In his remarks Monday, Biden repeated his earlier call for Congress to ban “assault weapons.” However, that’s unlikely to happen due to lack of support, particularly in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance most legislation. There has been bipartisan support, however, for raising the legal age limit to purchase semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018 was committed by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who used a legally purchased AR-15 to murder 17 people.

The new gun-policy bill passed after a pair of mass shootings in May. On May 24, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos used legally purchased AR-15-style rifle to murder 21 people at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Just 10 days earlier, 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly murdered 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store with an AR-15-style rifle that he also legally purchased.

The ceremony took place one week after another mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. killed seven people and injured dozens more.

In a CNN interview before the event, Oliver said: "It's like we're going to a party, to a wedding today ... I really wish there were more in this package of bills."
Oliver, seen here being escorted out of the event, had previously told CNN: “It’s like we’re going to a party, to a wedding today … I really wish there were more in this package of bills.”
Oliver was escorted out of the gun control event after he began heckling Biden.
Oliver was escorted out of the gun control event after he began heckling Biden.

The new gun-policy law authorized $750 million for state-run crisis intervention programs such as “red flag” laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people suspected of ill-intentions.

The legislation also bans people from possessing guns if they are convicted of violence against a romantic partner. A prior federal restriction was less comprehensive.

It’s rare for a president to be heckled during a speech — especially on White House grounds. When Biden was vice president, he patted then-President Barack Obama on the back in 2015 as Obama memorably scolded a heckler opposed to the deportation of LGBT illegal immigrants. 

Manuel Oliver and his wife Patricia Oliver pose for a portrait during a 'die'-in' protest in a Publix supermarket.
Manuel Oliver and his wife, Patricia Oliver, pose for a portrait during a “die-in” protest in a Publix supermarket.
Joaquin Oliver
Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Shame on you,” Obama told the transgender immigration activist at a Pride Month event. “Listen, you’re in my house … It’s not respectful.”

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