Activist dad of school shooting victim joins anti-gun group

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The father of a 14-year-old girl killed in the 2018 Florida high school shooting massacre announced Thursday that he would join the top ranks of a progressive anti-gun group to promote like-minded political candidates nationwide ahead of next year’s midterm elections. getting involved in. .

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Fred Gutenberg will be the senior advisor to Brady PAC. Their daughter Jamie, an aspiring dancer and gymnast, died at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida during the Valentine’s Day 2018 shoot with 16 others.

Nicolas Cruz pleaded guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder for that shooting and could face the death penalty during sentencing in January. Gutenberg, who has become a nationally renowned activist in the years following the shooting, said he visited his daughter’s grave this week and “asked her for guidance. ‘Cause Jamie is my strength.”

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“Jamie may only be 14, but she was the toughest, most intelligent person I ever knew,” Gutenberg said in an interview. “If you want to know my motivation as to why I’m doing this to Brady Pac right now, here’s why.”

Brady PAC, leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, supports candidates who promote gun violence prevention and spends $5 million during the 2020 election cycle. It has promised to pump millions more into next year’s race.

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“I believe we are one election cycle away from completing it, or one election cycle away from missing a chance,” said Gutenberg, a 55-year-old former small business owner.

“We do it now,” he said, “or we never do it.”

Gutenberg noted that Democrats, most of whom agree with him and Brady PAC on top gun issues, control Congress and could hold both chambers after 2022—regardless of the party that wins the White House, as Democrats did through Joe Biden in 2020, historically losing seats in the next election

“I think people need to stop acting like everyone knows what’s going to happen in 2022 and start working on what you want to do,” Gutenberg said. “I want more gun safety candidates elected to the House and Senate. Period. Full stop. And I think voters agree with me.”

Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members during a seven-minute rampage through Stoneman Douglas, using an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to shoot victims in hallways and classrooms. Cruz had been expelled from school a year earlier after a history of threatening, appalling, unusual and sometimes violent behavior for preschoolers.

The shooting caused some Stoneman Douglas students to start the March for Our Lives movement, which calls for stronger gun restrictions on a national level. In addition to Gutenberg, several other parents of the students killed have also become activists.

Last February, Gutenberg attended President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and began shouting after the Republican president said, “I will always defend your Second Amendment holding and keeping arms.” Gutenberg was taken out and later apologized via Twitter.

Gutenberg also gained attention in Congress in September 2018, when he attempted to shake hands with Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh during a Senate confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh looked at him, turned and left. Kavanaugh later said that he had assumed Gutenberg was a protester and would have expressed his sympathy and shook Gutenberg’s hand when he recognized her before turning away from his security details. Kavanaugh was confirmed in court.

The Brady Pac is the political arm of a non-profit organization named in honor of former White House press secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981.

Along with his wife, Brady became a prominent gun control activist before his death in 2014. A federal law requires background checks on handgun buyers bearing Brady’s name, as in the White House press briefing room.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Fred Guttenberg

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