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Father of Parkland victim interrupts President Biden during 'celebration' of gun legislation

Biden hosted guests on the White House South Lawn to celebrate new bipartisan gun legislation. He stopped his speech when Manuel Oliver yelled "you have to do more."

PARKLAND, Fla. — President Joe Biden's address on gun legislation on the White House celebration Monday came to an abrupt halt when a member of the audience stood up and yelled, "You have to do more." 

That man was Manuel Oliver, an activist for gun safety whose connection to the cause is personal: his son, Joaquin "Guac" Oliver, was one of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Oliver was invited to attend the event along with hundreds of other guests, including lawmakers, local officials and other family members of gun violence victims. He wore a shirt with his son's face and the words 'We Demand A Change.'

"Will we match thoughts and prayers with action?" Biden asked the crowd. "I say yes, and that's what we're doing here today. Today's many things. It's proof that despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence." 

As he began to say, "Make no mistake," he was cut off by Oliver. 

Oliver is inaudible at first, but then can be heard demanding further action as the crowd applauds. 

"I've been trying to tell you this for years," he can be heard saying. "You have to do more." 

Biden told Oliver to sit down and hear what he has to say, then told security to let him talk, but Oliver was led away shortly by a staffer shortly after. 

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is the first major bipartisan gun legislation to pass through Congress in 30 years.

It will put $13 billion towards new spending for mental health programs and securing schools. It will require stricter background checks for gun buyers under 21, restrict domestic violence offenders for purchasing guns and put funding towards red flag laws.

Prior to the event, Oliver made it clear that he didn't think the legislation went far enough and that he wanted to speak with Biden on the issue. When Biden signed last week's executive order on abortion, he tweeted: "Good job on the executive order, Mr. @POTUS. Why is it that you didn't react the same way when the US Supreme Court decided to add more victims to the gun violence epidemic? I can’t wait to see you on Monday so you can explain."

 He also took issue with the labelling of Monday's event as a "celebration." 

He wrote, "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." 


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