During a South Lawn celebration of bipartisan firearm policy legislation that President Joe Biden signed last month, a father stood up shouting and called out to the White House “do more” to curb gun crime to which Biden said, “Sit down! You’ll hear what I have to say.” Manual Oliver, a father whose 17-year-old son Joaquin was killed in the February 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yelled at Biden saying “You have to do more than this!”. “You have to open an office in the White House!”, he added”. However, Oliver continued saying, “I’ve been trying to tell you this for years! And years!”. Biden responded swiftly saying “We have one. Let me finish my comments”.
As Oliver was led 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.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre revealed at an afternoon press on Monday, July 11 briefing that Biden “met with [Oliver] earlier today before the event” and “agrees with him… that we need to do more”, The Post reported. Jean-Pierre declined to say whether Biden would create a new gun control position and stated that she was unaware of what Biden and Oliver discussed.
Hours after the lawn incident, 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.”
Igor Volsky, the executive director of Guns Down America, tweeted after the South Lawn incident 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.”
He and other survivors are hosting a 2pm presser on PA Ave in front of WH demanding Biden *act* https://t.co/sP0gIeL2F7
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) July 11, 2022
“Last week, survivors of gun violence including @manueloliver00 sent letter to @POTUS urging him to provide a roadmap for action that will save lives — including setting up an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. POTUS failed to announce next steps today. That’s disappointing”, Volsky added in a subsequent tweet.
Last week, survivors of gun violence including @manueloliver00 sent letter to @POTUS urging him to provide a roadmap for action that will save lives — including setting up an Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
POTUS failed to announce next steps today. That’s disappointing.
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) July 11, 2022
Before the event, Oliver tweeted that he was upset about plans to celebrate the new law, which includes enhanced background checks for 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. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Not me, not Joaquin. @ChangeTheRef”, Oliver wrote. “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.
The word CELEBRATION has no space in a society that saw 19 kids massacred just a month ago. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Not me, not Joaquin. @ChangeTheRef
— Manuel Oliver (@manueloliver00) July 11, 2022
Manuel Oliver to CNN on what he’d tell Biden today: “It’s been a while that I’ve been calling out…using the word celebration, getting together, is like we’re going to a party, to a wedding…it’s not…enough…There was no reason for this event to be called as it’s called[.]” pic.twitter.com/UiZ5ECA7qy
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 11, 2022
Who is Manuel Oliver?
Oliver is a creative director, Gun Safety campaigner, global activist, and international speaker. Oliver lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin in the February 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which was committed by the 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who used a legally purchased AR-15 to murder 17 people. Oliver “started a non-profit advocacy group called “Change the Ref,” which seeks to vote out politicians who take NRA money and vote in politicians with gun-safety agendas and used his artist training and guerilla advertising instincts to keep focus on Guac and the more than 40K victims/year from gun violence in US”, according to his LinkedIn profile.
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.
Biden, in his Monday remark, reiterated his previous call for Congress to prohibit “assault weapons.” However, that is unlikely to happen due to a lack of support, particularly in the Senate, where most legislation requires 60 votes to advance. Last month, Biden signed a bipartisan gun control measure into law predicting the legislation will “save lives.” The new gun-control legislation authorized $750 million for state-run crisis intervention programs such as “red flag” laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people suspected of wrongdoing. The law also prohibits people from possessing firearms if they have been convicted of violence against a romantic partner. A previous federal restriction was less stringent.