Parents of a student murdered in the 2018 Parkland school shooting were arrested and forcibly removed from a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose teen son Joaquin was killed in the attack, were in Washington DC for the hearing of the House Oversight Committee entitled: ‘ATF’s Assault on the Second Amendment: When is Enough Enough?’
Pat Fallon, a Republican congressman representing Texas, said that increased gun control was not a solution to gun violence, pointing to Mexico’s high level of gun ownership despite it being extremely difficult to legally purchase a gun.
Making the point that new laws are not needed, he said: ‘You can’t legislate away evil.’ However, this riled up the parents of the Parkland victim.
Patricia Oliver is seen on Thursday confronting Republican lawmakers who insisted there was nothing they could do legislatively to end gun violence
Manuel Oliver is seen on Thursday being pinned to the ground by Capitol Police
Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver, is removed from the hearing room
Fallon said: ‘Gun control in Mexico is very strict. Every single firearm in Mexico is supposed to be registered.
‘Mexico has 124 million people…’
Joaquin Oliver, 17, was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a ‘better future.’ He was killed during the school shooting in Florida
He was then interrupted by Patricia Oliver, who reportedly yelled that they had taken her son away.
Joaquin’s father was pinned to the ground by Capitol Police and then arrested. It’s unclear if cops will press charges.
Onlookers were heard shouting: ‘What are you doing to this man? He’s a grieving father.’
Joaquin Oliver was killed by a mass shooter at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The Olivers were evicted from a White House event last year, after Manuel Oliver heckled Joe Biden for not doing enough on gun control.
‘Uh – woah, ma’am. Ma’am. Alright – please remove that woman. You’re removed. You’re breaching protocol and disorder in the committee room. Officers please remove her.’
Manuel Oliver shouted out that the committee was ‘full of s***’.
Fallon said: ‘And remove the gentleman too.’
Patricia Oliver is removed from the hearing after becoming vocal in Washington DC
Her husband is seen being dragged away by Capitol Police. He was handcuffed and arrested
Pat Fallon is seen arguing with Democrat David Cicilline during Thursday’s hearing
Joaquin’s father was pinned to the ground by Capitol Police and then arrested. It’s unclear if cops will press charges
Fallon then read to the room the rules of the committee, which banned interruptions.
Outside the committee room, Manuel Oliver was manhandled by Capitol Police and shoved to the floor. Supporters chanted: ‘He’s not violent!’
Fallon, hearing the commotion, called for a recess.
Maxwell Frost, the youngest member of Congress at 26, condemned Fallon’s actions.
Frost, from Orlando, served as the National Organizing Director at March for Our Lives – the student activist group set up by Parkland survivors.
‘To lose a child to gun violence, to see the photos of your child sitting in a pool of blood – I can’t imagine that,’ he said.
‘You know, Manny and Patricia have dedicated their lives to fighting for a world where true justice can be achieved — because unfortunately, there is no justice for the dead and true justice is ensuring that this never happens again.’
Frost, in whose office hangs a piece of art created during his campaign by Manuel Oliver, said that the couple were ‘American heroes’.
‘And what they always say is that they don’t want their son Joaquin to be remembered as a victim, they want him to remembered as an activist.’
Frost noted that the leading cause of death for American children is gun violence.
‘Today Republicans on this committee chose to sit in front of those parents, and the survivors and organizers and advocates that are sitting in the audience right now, people who are re-living their trauma listening through this, people impacted by gun violence across the nation, and show that their priority is gun lobby money, manufacturers who profit off death, and creating fake narratives for political gain,’ he said.
He then left the hearing, saying there was ‘no point’, while Republicans remain in the thrall of the gun lobby.
Wendy Behrend, a school crossing guard who was on duty when a shooter opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, pays her respects at a memorial for those killed