Politics

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz Tries to Eject Parkland Dad From Gun Violence Hearing

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz screencap via C-SPAN
By now, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has made it almost blatantly clear he's in the pocket of the gun lobby.

Less than two weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Gaetz tweeted, "The @NRA is an organization that takes 100% of the blame for the conduct of 0% of its members." Then, in May, he accepted a $2,500 campaign donation from the organization. To no one's surprise, the NRA endorsed Gaetz, a Republican who represents the Pensacola area, for Congress last July.

On Wednesday, however, Gaetz took his gun-rights fervor to another level when he tried to get Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland victim Joaquin "Guac" Oliver, kicked out of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on preventing gun violence.

"Is there a process in the committee whereby if the very same people are repeatedly interrupting the time of the members, that those people will be asked to depart the committee?" Gaetz said while aggressively pointing his finger at Oliver and the other parents in the crowd.

"I’d observe three interruptions of my time by the same individual and that the chair is not utilizing its discretion to remove that individual," he added.
The dispute began when Gaetz, a Hollywood native, stated that a border wall, not background checks, would prevent gun violence. Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, another Parkland father, shouted at Gaetz in protest, according to Mother Jones reporter Kara Voght.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the committee, let the parents off with a warning.

As of now, neither Oliver nor Guttenberg has commented on social media about Gaetz's outburst.
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Jessica Lipscomb is news editor of Miami New Times and an enthusiastic Florida Woman. Born and raised in Orlando, she has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.
Contact: Jessica Lipscomb