WASHINGTON (AP) – The father of a 14-year-old girl killed in the 2018 Florida high school massacre announced on Thursday that he is joining the top ranks of a progressive anti-gun group to promote like-minded political candidates across the country. … midterm elections next year.
Fred Gutenberg will be a senior advisor to Brady PAC. His daughter Jamie, an aspiring dancer and gymnast, died along with 16 others during the 2018 Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
On Wednesday, Nicholas Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 first-degree murder charges for the shooting and could be sentenced to death when sentenced in January. Gutenberg, who has become a world-renowned activist in the years since the shooting, said he visited his daughter’s grave this week and “asked her advice. Because Jamie is my strength. “
“Jamie was only 14, but she was the coolest and wisest person I have ever known,” Gutenberg said in an interview. “If you want to know my motivation for why I’m doing this with Brady PAC right now, then that’s the reason.”
Created ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Brady PAC supports pro-gun violence candidates and spent $ 5 million during the 2020 electoral cycle. He has pledged to invest millions more in racing next year.
Gutenberg, a 55-year-old former small business owner, said, “I believe we are one electoral cycle from doing this, or one electoral cycle from missing out.”
“We are doing it now,” he added, “or we never will.”
Guttenberg noted that Democrats, most of whom agree with him and Brady PAK on major arms issues, control Congress and can hold both chambers after 2022 – even though the party that will win the White House, as the Democrats did through Joe Biden in 2020, historically lost. seats in the next elections.
“I think people need to stop acting like everyone knows what’s going to happen in 2022 and get back to work to get what you want,” Gutenberg said. “I want more candidates to be elected to the House of Representatives and Senate on weapons safety issues. Period. Full stop. And I think the voters agree with me. “
Cruise killed 14 students and three staff members during a seven-minute rampage through Stoneman Douglas, using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to shoot victims in hallways and classrooms. Cruz had been expelled from school a year earlier after a history of threatening, intimidating, unusual and sometimes aggressive behavior that was associated with a preschool.
The shooting has prompted some Stoneman Douglas students to launch the March for Our Lives movement, which is pushing for tougher gun restrictions at the national level. In addition to Gutenberg, several other parents of the murdered students became activists.
Last February, Gutenberg attended President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and started shouting after the Republican President said, “I will always defend your right under the Second Amendment to Possess and Carry Weapons.” Gutenberg was escorted out and later apologized via Twitter.
Gutenberg also came to the attention of Congress in September 2018 when he tried to shake hands with Supreme Court nominee Brett Cavanaugh during a hiatus in his Senate confirmation hearing. Cavanaugh looked at him, turned and walked away. Cavanaugh later said that he assumed that Gutenberg was a protester and that he would have expressed his sympathy and shook hands with Gutenberg if he recognized him before he was taken away by his security personnel. Cavanaugh was confirmed in court.
Brady PAC is the political arm of a nonprofit organization named after former White House press secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head while attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton in 1981.
Together with his wife, Brady became a leading gun control activist before his death in 2014. A federal law requiring background checks on gun buyers bears the name Brady, as does the White House press briefing room.