Fred Guttenberg, the father of a teen girl killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, was escorted out of the State of the Union on Tuesday after protesting President Donald Trump’s inaction on gun violence.
Guttenberg’s protest came shortly after Trump vowed his opposition to stricter gun laws. “Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country,” Trump said. “So long as I am president I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
Guttenberg reportedly shouted that his daughter was a victim of gun violence, before Capitol Police went to him and escorted him out. According to NBC News reporter Kasie Hunt, many Democrats on the floor applauded Guttenberg as he was taken away. Most of the situation was drowned out on air as Republicans applauded Trump’s remarks.
Guttenberg previously received some national media attention for confronting Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee for the Supreme Court, over his record on gun violence.
Guttenberg attended the State of the Union after receiving an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has pushed gun control bills, including a universal background check measure, through the House. He wore an orange tie, symbolizing gun violence awareness.
February 5, 2020
Guttenberg’s daughter, 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, was among the 17 killed in Parkland. After the shooting, Guttenberg became vocal advocate for stricter gun laws, taking part in the movement that transformed into #NeverAgain and March for Our Lives. That movement culminated in a massive march in Washington, DC, but it has also continued to inspire voter turnout efforts and candidates running largely on doing something about gun violence.
While the movement, as well as growing attention to mass shootings in the US, has led some states to enact stricter gun laws, Trump and Republicans in Congress have so far rejected such efforts. After the House passed its gun control bills, the GOP-held Senate refused to take them up — eliminating the bills’ chances of passing.
For more on America’s gun problem, read Vox’s explainer.