Parkland dad Manuel Oliver climbs a crane near the White House, urging immediate action against gun violence.
Activist David Hogg takes to national television to urge President Joe Biden to “make good on your promises because kids are dying.”
A new website goes live, tracking “gun violence losses under Biden.”
These were among the efforts by Parkland activists on Monday — on the four-year mark of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting. They criticized the Biden administration for “not doing enough” to curb gun violence and school shootings.
Patricia Oliver, the mother of Joaquin Oliver, who was one of the students killed on Valentine’s Day 2018, appeared on CNN. She said her husband scaled a crane in Washington, D.C., because “he’s representing Joaquin in a way to be heard” even though he risked arrest.
Manuel Oliver posted a video on his Twitter page that he asked for a meeting with Biden but didn’t get one. “We had to find a way to send a message,” his wife said. “We haven’t seen any changes,” she said, adding there should be a new federal office dedicated to gun violence.
Officials escorted Oliver down from the crane, with images showing him being taken away. But by Monday afternoon, he had been freed, his wife tweeted. “My amor has been released from custody and is on his way to me now,” she wrote, telling him she loves him. About an hour later she posted a photo of them embracing with the caption, “Finally together again. Grateful and relieved for your safety. Through your bravery, Joaquin lives today and forever.”
Appearing with Patricia Oliver during a TV interview earlier in the day was Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas graduate, an activist and a co-founder of the March For Our Lives movement. He brought attention to the new gun-related tracker website www.shockmarket.org. The site shows statistics on deaths and mass shootings, among other figures, since Biden’s inauguration. Responding to President Biden’s 2020 campaign pledge, where he said, “Gun manufacturers, I’m coming for you,” Hogg said Monday he was “disappointed.”
Looking directly into the camera to address Biden, he said: “We need you to go out and act right now before the next Parkland happens. … We need you to make good on your promises because kids are dying.”
The Associated Press reported there were at least 136 instances of gunfire on school grounds between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, citing a tally last week by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
The White House said Monday it was standing “with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence.”
Biden said in the statement he has acted to crack down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and that are often purchased without a background check, and promoted safe firearm storage.
He said the U.S. Department of Justice is also helping more cities adopt “smart law enforcement models,” where federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to share intelligence and target shooters.
Biden also called on Congress to require background checks on all gun sales, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminate immunity for gun manufacturers.
“We can never bring back those we’ve lost. But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe,” the president’s statement said. “For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation.”
Igor Volsky, the executive director of Guns Down America and co-founder of the new Shock Market gun tracker, told CNN that Biden had made “personal promises” to the Oliver family “that this would be a top priority for him and the fact that they haven’t done everything and anything in their power is unacceptable, absolutely unacceptable.”
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