It was November 30 and a teenage gunman opened fire inside a high school in Oxford, Michigan, with the gun it later emerged as a Christmas present from his parents, according to authorities. blame.
Four students were killed in the attack and seven others were hospitalized.
The president was briefed on the massacre while on a tour of Minnesota that day and spoke about it at the start of a speech at a technical college.
“My heart goes out to the families who are enduring the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one,” he said.
Mr. Oliver immediately packed up and traveled from his home in Florida to Washington DC.
In the nine days since, he has stood outside the gates of the White House demanding a meeting with Mr Biden over what he said was a failure to deliver on his campaign promise to end the gun violence pandemic. nationwide.
“When I saw the president’s reply with a simple ‘our hearts go out to the family,’ that’s when I thought we weren’t going to move forward,” he said. The Independent by phone from his location outside the White House on Thursday.
“We’re letting this happen and we’re just waiting for the next thing to happen and the next thing.
“As a country, it’s like being accepted that this happens.”
Mr. Oliver knows all too well the devastation caused by gun violence.
His son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was one of the 17 victims of the murder batch shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018.
Joaquin, then 17, was shot multiple times by 19-year-old gunman Nicolas Cruz along a third-floor hallway shortly after skipping a creative writing lesson.
Last week, after seeing more families lose loved ones in a school shooting, Mr Oliver said he felt “empowered” to do more.
“People think seeing it happen again is like a flashback and makes us suffer again, but I cry for my son just as much, this is the next moment. strength and keep doing things for other kids,” he said.
“It makes me feel guilty and part of the problem is that, after being an activist against gun violence for the past four years, we still see children being shot in schools.
“I can’t save my son Joaquin, but I can help other kids.”
Since their son’s death, Mr. Oliver and his wife Patricia Oliver have worked as gun control activists.
Two years ago, they met Mr. Biden when he was running for president.
Mr. Oliver said the candidate then promised them that tackling gun violence would be a top priority if he was elected. Taking his word, his parents campaigned to get him into the White House.
Now, they feel Mr. Biden has broken that promise.
Mr Oliver said: “He told us he had fought against the NRA and the gun industry before, so he knew how and would do it again.
“You don’t promise this just because. When you’re talking to a father and mother who lost a child to a gun, every word counts. “
Mr Oliver said he placed “all my hopes” on the Biden administration finally taking decisive action on gun reform – hopes he said were “disappeared”.
“I haven’t seen any response from the administration that this is really a priority,” he said.
Public health pandemic response plan
Mr. Biden ran his campaign on a promise to end what he described as a “public health epidemic,” which is gun violence.
As the race for the White House intensifies in 2020, he has outlined a comprehensive gun control plan that includes a ban on assault weapons, a nationwide background check and red flag laws to allow weapons to be brought out of the country. people who are considered a risk to themselves or others.
In the plan, Mr. Biden pledged to go after gun manufacturers by repealing the Lawful Trade in Firearms Act so they could be held accountable for committing crimes with their products.
The responsibility will also be placed on gun owners themselves, with laws making adults responsible when they allow children to access guns, laws on safe gun storage and plans to increase the deployment of smart guns. (where fingerprint technology means the gun can only be fired by authorized users).
He vowed to “bring weapons of war off our streets” by banning the production and sale of assault weapons and high-volume magazines; require existing owners of offensive weapons to register them; introduce a program to buy back assault weapons or high-volume magazines from existing owners; and restrict gun purchases among gun owners.
Then there are promises to introduce global background check laws and close some loopholes in existing laws that allow some people to slip through.
This will ensure guns don’t fall into the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves or others, Mr. Biden said.
During his campaign, he repeatedly pointed to his past gun control record as proof that, if elected, he would do it again, proud that he ta “joined the NRA on the national stage and won – twice”.
As a senator in the 1990s, Mr. Biden helped pass a 10-year assault weapons ban as well as the Brady Pistol Violence Prevention Act that required federal background checks and time 5 days waiting for gun buyers.
Then, in 2012, as vice president to President Barack Obama, Biden was passed to reform the nation’s gun policies in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 26 people dead. die.
After introducing 23 executive actions and three bills, he decided to focus on trying to pass a bill that would expand background checks in the hope that it would get enough support from Congress.
However, amid criticism that Mr. Biden acted too slowly, the bill failed.
Now, history seems to be repeating itself.
While his presidential campaign plans and promises have been echoed by gun control activists – especially after President Donald Trump spent the past four years relaxing gun laws – the reality is not. significantly decreased.
The president is once again struggling to get enough support from the Senate to enact legislation, where it is split 50-50 with Republicans and Democrats.
However, some limited action has been taken.
In April, Mr. Biden announced six executive actions to address what he described as “international confusion” about gun violence in the US.
These include: a crackdown on “ghost guns” (guns without serial numbers mean they are difficult to track); directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to introduce red flag law models and reporting on arms trafficking; invest $1 billion in evidence-based community violence intervention (CVI) programs; tightening regulations on pistol stabilizers; and nominated David Chipman as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This summer, the administration also announced that state and local governments could use $350 billion in pandemic relief funds for CVI measures to help address escalating gun violence.
However, without bipartisan support in Congress, Mr. Biden’s powers to put stricter gun control laws into effect are somewhat limited.
And even some of his executive activities have stalled.
In September, Mr. Biden withdrew his nomination of Mr. Chipman because he clearly did not have enough bipartisan support for confirmation.
Meanwhile, the rules surrounding ghost guns have yet to be finalized.
Gun violence has increased since Mr. Biden took office.
Gun violence escalates
According to data from Gun Violence Archives, there have been 658 mass shootings so far in 2021, as of December 10 – more than the 611 mass shootings recorded for all of 2020.
Among the victims, 4,322 teenagers aged 12 to 17 have been killed or injured in gun violence this year, up from 4,142 the year before.
Mass shootings had escalated under the previous administration, almost doubling during Trump’s time in the White House from 382 in 2016 to 611 in 2020.
But the problem seems to be getting worse with a string of massacres in recent months.
In March, eight people, including six Asian women, were shot dead when a gunman opened fire at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia.
Just days later, 10 people were shot dead in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
In April, a gunman opened fire at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis, killing eight people before turning the gun on himself.
Every day, 100 people die from gun violence in the US Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
The number is especially poignant, Oliver explained, because there are also 100 people in the Senate who have the power to put stricter gun control regulations into law and save lives.
“These 100 people are deciding whether 100 Americans will die today, tomorrow and the day after… that makes no sense,” Mr. Oliver said.
Declaration of national emergency
Instead, Mr. Oliver said the president needed to declare a national emergency on gun violence and outlined a solid plan to reduce gun violence during his State of the Union address to urgently. switch dials.
“What does he need to call it – a national emergency – and as president, he should create a new story on this,” he said.
“He can and should declare war on gun violence today.”
As president, “a strong first step from Biden could bring society in,” Oliver said.
He then suggested that American companies, everyday citizens and more legislators would rally together and become part of the solution.
Mr Oliver said he believes Mr Biden cares “a lot” about gun violence but has yet to take “radical” action.
“What has been done so far is not even enough,” he said.
“Bills are not going to save lives unless they are made into law and that is not going to happen right now.
“So we need a president who is radically advocating against gun violence, who is outraged by children being shot, who is willing to act outside of politics.”
Mr. Oliver is requesting a meeting with the president to establish specific steps his administration is taking in response to the outbreak.
And he will continue his crusade outside the gates of the White House until he reaches it.
“I’m not going anywhere – I’m not going to stay until I meet Biden at the White House and we have the conversation I’m looking for,” he said.
“Being here is not a sacrifice because it’s not even close to what my son Joaquin went through so that I could stay forever.”
“This meeting is going on,” he added. It’s just a matter of when.”
The Independent asked the White House for comment.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/joe-biden-gun-control-manuel-oliver-parkland-b1974012.html If Joe Biden Forgot About Gun Control – This Parkland Dad Was Camping Outside His Door Until He Remembered