The father of one of the students killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018 interrupted President Biden during an event at the White House on Monday commemorating the new modest gun reform law that passed with bipartisan support.
Several family members of the Parkland shooting victims were in attendance as the President delivered remarks at the event held on the South Lawn. Parkland parent Manuel Oliver, who lost his teenage son Joaquin when a shooter opened fire and killed 17 at the high school four years ago, was in the audience.
As the President said the gun reform bill shows that “we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence,” Oliver shouted, “we have to do more than that.”
From the podium, Biden told Oliver to “sit down and hear what I have to say” while gesturing at him to sit down.
Oliver continued shouting, prompting the President to remark, “let him talk.”
“Because make no mistake about it, this legislation is real progress, but more has to be done,” Biden said.
Hours before the White House event, Oliver tweeted that he was unhappy with the event being characterized as a “celebration.”
Oliver also appeared on CNN ahead of the White House event, in which he said he wishes “there was more in this package of bills” to take action against gun violence.
“I will do whatever I can to get more in this package of bills. This is not the beginning or the end. A lot of people are saying this is the beginning. No, this is part of a process. There was no reason for this event to be called as it’s called right now,” Oliver said.
The White House event comes after Congress passed a bipartisan gun reform bill late last month aimed at restricting gun access for people deemed a danger to society. The bill’s passage came a day after the Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York concealed carry licensing law, which has long required that license applicants show “proper cause” to have a concealed weapon.
The Supreme Court’s ruling came in the wake of mass shootings at a Buffalo, New York grocery store and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas weeks earlier.
The modest gun reform package is the only one of its kind to pass through Congress in about a decade. It passed with support from Republican senators in a 65-33 vote. It imposes stricter background checks for young gun buyers, increases penalties for third-party gun sellers, expands a ban on domestic abusers purchasing guns and deploys millions of funds into mental health programs and school security measures.
Although the bill’s passage was a breakthrough in that it passed without the usual GOP obstruction in an evenly-divided Senate, the bill fell short of Democrats’ demands, which included a ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to those under 21 years old and on high-capacity magazines.