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Biden interrupted by Parkland father at White House event celebrating bipartisan gun legislation

‘This is like giving a green light to Congress to wait another 30 years to do something else’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 11 July 2022 18:31 BST
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Joe Biden heckled while speaking about gun control after passing Safer Communities Act
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Joe Biden was interrupted by Parkland father Manuel Oliver during a White House event celebrating the passage of a bipartisan gun safety bill.

Mr Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin during the 2018 Florida shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School, stood up during the president’s speech on the White House lawn on Monday.

“Despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence,” Mr Biden said during his speech on Monday.

“Because make no mistake – sit down. You’ll hear what I have to say,” he added as he was interrupted.

“We have to do more than that!” Mr Oliver shouted as Mr Biden spoke about the new measures.

“Let me finish my comments,” Mr Biden said, but then added: “Let him talk, let him talk.”

Mr Biden then went on to say that the Safer Communities Act was “real progress” but that “more has to be done”.

Footage from the event shows that Mr Oliver was then asked to leave the area.

Mr Biden urged gun control activists to keep fighting for further measures not included in the bill, including an assault rifle ban.

“Success begets success ... we finally moved that mountain of opposition, obstruction, and indifference that stood in the way and stopped every effort of gun safety for 30 years in this nation. Now’s the time to galvanize this movement,” Mr Biden said. “Because that’s our duty to the people of this nation.”

Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland mass shooting, interrupts U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks (Getty Images)
Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland mass shooting, interrupts U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks (Getty Images)

Mr Oliver appeared on CNN after the White House event, saying that “this is like giving a green light to Congress to wait another 30 years to do something else”.

“But guess what? We're not going to let that happen,” he added. “I was yesterday working on this in the city of Orlando, I was a week ago in Philadelphia and I will be next week in Texas. So for me, again, this is just part of a process. And anyone that thinks that this is a new start a new beginning, it's probably showing that we can slow down our activism – not me, not Joaquin, not my wife, Alicia, and not the thousands of kids that are out there.”

Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland mass shooting, interrupts U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks (AP)

Mr Biden told the gun safety advocates at the event that “lives will be saved today and tomorrow” because of “your work, your advocacy” and “your courage”.

“What we’re doing today is real, it’s vivid, it’s relevant,” he said. “The action we take today is a step designed to make our nation the kind of nation we should be. It’s about the most fundamental of things — the lives of our children, of our loved ones”.

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