VP Harris pushes gun control at site of Parkland school shooting as victim's dad calls it 'slap in the face'


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After Vice President Kamala Harris walked the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, she pushed for gun control legislation by announcing a new national office to promote “red flag” laws.

“I do believe we have a duty to remember and a duty to bear witness to what happened here. It is extraordinarily tragic. These were beautiful people whom I have come to know through their family members,” Harris said after she accompanied some of the victims’ family members through the high school halls where a gunman had killed 17 people in 2018.

They are so much bigger and more than a statistic, they should be so much bigger and more than the subject of politics or gamesmanship,” the vice president said. 

PARKLAND VICTIM’S DAD SLAMS VP KAMALA HARRIS’ ‘PHOTO OP’ VISIT TO ‘PUSH AN AGENDA’: ‘SLAP IN THE FACE’

Family members hold portraits of the victims of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as US Vice President Kamala Harris departs them after speaking about gun safety measures at the high school in Parkland, Florida, March 23, 2024. (DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images)

Harris said that “gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in America.”

“You know, part of what I talk to families about is the fact that one of five families in America has a family member that has died because of gun violence,” Harris said. “That the leading cause of death for the children of America is gun violence.”

And what I saw here today, after I spent time with the families during the walk through the building where these crimes occurred, is a moment frozen in time,” she said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris

Families (back, R) hold portraits of the victims of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the press about gun safety measures at the high school in Parkland, Florida, March 23, 2024.  (DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images)

The vice president said that people need to “understand the facets” of the tragedy at the Parkland high school and to “do better” in the future.

“I know that for the most part that [parents of victims] they will try to mitigate the pain, but will never completely heal,” Harris said.

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“We have to understand the facets of this and when we do reflect and review and, dare I say, study what happened here at Stoneman Douglas, we must be willing to have the courage to say that on every level, whether you talk about changing laws or changing practices and locales, that we must do better,” she said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris

US Vice President Kamala Harris gestures towards relatives holding portraits of the victims of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as she speaks to the press about gun safety measures at the high school in Parkland, Florida, March 23, 2024.  (DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images)

During her speech, Harris announced a new national office, the National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, which will provide assistance to 21 states that have implemented “red flag laws.”

“Of the 21 that have passed red flag laws, I challenge the others to come on over,” Harris said. “We got some resources for you to help you implement the work that you have done that has been the work of a leader on this tragic issue.”

Red flag” laws allow members of the public and law enforcement to petition courts for a civil order to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms for fear that person might cause violence.

Parkland shooting memorial

People visit the memorial for the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, on the fifth anniversary of the massacre on February 14, 2023. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Harris concluded her speech by promising that she would “continue to advocate” for stricter gun control laws in America.

“So these are just some of the ways that we can learn from what happened here,” she said.

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“And of course, as you know, I will continue to advocate what we must do in terms of universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and what we must continue to do to treat, diagnose and treat trauma in our communities,” she said.

The vice president said that some of the strict gun control laws were “no brainers.”

“And there won’t be complete agreement on all that must be done to address these kinds of tragedies. But there are some that, frankly, are just no brainers,” she added.

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Ryan Petty, a father of one of the Parkland victims, said that Harris’ visit to the high school was a “slap in the face” to parents who have worked to find solutions to schools that do not include “infringement on Second Amendment rights.”

“The vice president and the White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention made it very clear to families early on that nothing short of new gun control was going to satisfy them in protecting our nation’s schools,” he told Fox News Digital. “And that is just a slap in the face to those of us that have worked for six years now to try to protect our nation’s schools.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 13, 2021. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

He said that there are “many ways” that America can protect children without “infringement on Second Amendment rights.”

“There are so many ways that we can protect our kids and our teachers at school that don’t require the infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners around the country,” Petty said. “But the vice president and the Office of Gun Violence Prevention don’t want to hear any of those solutions. What they want to do is create an opportunity for the vice president to spout gun control talking points at a site that, quite frankly, is hallowed ground at this point.”

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“I find the whole thing offensive,” he added.

Fox News has reached out to the White House for comment.



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