Biden mentions gun control activists who lost loved ones in Parkland, Orlando


WASHINGTON – During his gun control announcement on Thursday, President Joe Biden paid tribute to the work of two gun control activists following two mass shootings in Florida – the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17 people in 2018, and the shooting at Pulse Nightclub , in which 49 people were killed in 2016.

The grief after the shootings turned Fred Guttenberg from Parkland and Brandon Wolf from Orlando into activists dedicated to fighting gun violence and promoting gun control in Florida and the United States. Guttenberg said they are not alone.

These are the 17 victims who lost their lives in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. (WPLG)

In the White House rose garden, Biden said it takes a lot of courage to come to a gun control-related event. Many of the activists present, including Guttenberg and Wolf, have joined the pro-gun lobby and persistently pushed for legislative action on Capitol Hill.


“I see my friend Fred Guttenberg. His daughter Jaime was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, “said Biden of the 14-year-old who was killed in the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018.” She was an accomplished dancer. “

Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 victims of the MSD school shooting, loved to dance.

Guttenberg’s son was also at school on the day of the Parkland shooting and survived.

“It broke me a bit when he mentioned my daughter,” said Guttenberg after the event.

Biden also referred to the June 12, 2016 massacre during the LGBTQ nightclub’s Latin Night in Orlando. A man armed with a rifle killed 49 people and injured 53.

“I see Brandon Wolf … he survived but his two best friends died,” said Biden.

Wolf’s friends were Drew Leinonen and Juan Guerrero. Wolf became a development officer at Equality Florida, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and an international embarrassment,” said Biden.


Biden said the gun law will help his government stop the proliferation of “ghost weapons,” firearms that can be assembled at home and therefore do not have commercial serial numbers.

“These are weapons that are homemade and consist of a kit that contains instructions on how to complete the weapon. You can buy the kit, ”said Biden. “They don’t have serial numbers. So if they show up at a crime scene, they cannot be traced. And buyers don’t have to pass a background check to purchase the kit and manufacture the gun. “

Biden said the guns act will also force manufacturers to manufacture the key parts with serial numbers and do background checks on the buyers of the kits.

FILE – A photo was taken in this file on Nov. 27, 2019 by San Francisco Police Department Sgt. Matthew Elseth showing several “ghost rifles” that can be built from parts that are barely able to track or regulate the owner. (AP Photo / Haven Daley, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Biden said there was also an urgent need to regulate the sale of pistol stabilizing struts.


“Those changes to firearms that make them more lethal should be governed by the National Firearms Act … requiring a prospective owner to pay a $ 200 fee and provide their name and other identifiable information to the Department of Justice,” Biden said. “Just like you would if you bought a silencer for a gun.”

Biden said he wanted to see a national law protecting against extreme risks or a red flag law. These laws allow police officers or family members to file an application with the court for a firearm removal order. He said he also wanted the legislation to encourage states to pass their own red flag laws.

“We know red flag laws can have a significant impact on protecting women from domestic violence, and we know red flag laws can stop mass shooters before they can carry out their violent plans,” said Biden.

Biden said Congress could do more to support these efforts if they pass the law against violence against women. He also called on the Senate to fill loopholes in its background review.


“There are many representatives in South Florida who understand the evil of gun violence and have spent much of their careers here doing something about it,” Guttenberg said.

Cities across the country are experiencing historic spikes in gun violence and murders are the leading killer of black men ages 15 to 34, Biden said. He said the violence had a profound effect on children.

“We should also ban offensive weapons and high-capacity magazines … there’s no reason anyone needs a weapon of war,” Biden said.

Biden said he also wants to end the arms manufacturer exemptions.

“This is just the beginning. We’re very busy, but I know almost everyone who sits here in the garden. None of you have ever given up. We’re not going to give up now, ”said Biden. “The idea that so many people die from gun violence in America every day is a flaw in our character as a nation.”


President Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he listens to Attorney General Merrick Garland speak on preventing gun violence in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the US Department of Justice is ready to work on an analysis of modern patterns of criminal arms trafficking in a “data-driven manner,” publishing model laws to make it easier for states to pass red flag laws and pass grants worth over $ 1 billion to support evidence-based intervention strategies to reduce gun violence.

“Gun violence is not a problem that law enforcement can solve on its own,” Garland said. “Communities are an essential partner, asset, and source of resources and ideas. Those closest to the problem are a crucial part of solving the problem. “

FILE – In this file photo dated September 25, 2019, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor, Giffords Law Center, speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on offensive weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, file) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Biden also announced the appointment of David Chipman as director of the alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives bureau. Garland said Chipman spent 25 years “in the trenches” fighting the illegal arms trade.

Biden’s lawsuit was limited and could face legal opposition. Nevertheless Guttenberg said he was hopeful.


“This country has moved in the wrong direction in this regard, and the president took the breaks today and said, ‘We are going to change direction,'” Guttenberg said, adding, “As a country, we have confessed, we all have to watched for a long time how the gun violence got worse and worse. “

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Janet Smith