A man whose son was killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting was arrested Thursday after disrupting a joint subcommittee hearing by Republicans in defense of Second Amendment rights.
Manuel Oliver, 55, was detained in the Rayburn House Office Building on Thursday, according to a Capitol Police spokesman, after he “disrupted and refused to stop shouting, and then attempted to go back inside the hearing room.”
Oliver was not taken into custody, per the spokesman, since the police that responded to the scene conducted a citation release arrest. He was given a court date to appear.
“Anyone who disrupts a Congressional hearing and disregards a law enforcement officer’s orders to stop is going to be arrested,” Capitol Police said in a statement.
A combined hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees took place.
Following the de@th of his son Joaquin, Oliver founded the anti-gun violence organization Changes the Ref. He attended the hearing with his wife, Patricia. Both were kicked out of the hearing room following a verbal exchange with Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas.
A little more than two hours into the hearing, which was discussing the Biden administration’s alleged assault on Americans’ Second Amendment rights, the incident started.
Patricia Oliver began heckling Fallon, who chairs Oversight’s Economic Development, Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee, as Fallon made the point that reducing the number of weapons or tightening gun laws would not result in fewer gun de@ths.
“Please remove that woman,” Fallon instructed Capitol Police officers in the room, a request that was echoed by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who chairs Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance.
“You’re breaching protocol and disorder in the committee room,” Fallon said shortly before calling a recess.
“You took my son away from me,” Patricia Oliver responded.
Two Capitol Police officers apprehended Manuel Oliver outside the hearing room following the exchange, videos posted to Twitter show. Police struggled with Oliver, who appeared on the ground, as several people recorded the scene.
The Capitol Police states that violating the criminal code of Washington, D.C., would mean continuing a protest after being asked to stop in the Capitol complex.
After the nearly 10-minute break, the atmosphere remained hostile as Fallon and Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, D-Fla., who sits on Oversight, traded insults.
“To be disruptive, selfish, to breach decorum … shouldn’t be applauded. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applauded by members of this committee. That’s why I was slightly shocked that one member did that,” Fallon said after reconvening.
Before leaving the room early, Frost briefly spoke to the remaining gun control proponents.
“And I, for one, believe this has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with politics. And I won’t be listening to another second of it, and I wouldn’t blame you all if you made the same decision.”
On February 14, 2018, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, opened fire with an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people, including Joaquin Oliver.
On Thursday, there was no way to contact Manuel Oliver for a comment on social media.
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Fallon stated in his opening remarks that the hearing was called to discuss the attempts made by the Biden administration to “infringe” upon gun owners’ rights and “weaponize” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF.
The ATF issued a final rule in January that targets stabilizing braces, which are tools that attach a gun to a shooter’s arm so they can be fired one-handedly and more accurately. Alex Bosco, one of the witnesses in Thursday’s session, designed the apparatus.
According to the ATF rule, gun owners would have 120 days to register any existing pistols that have stabilizing braces with the government. The owner could also remove the mount, turn in the gun to the ATF, or destroy it.
“Instead of going after actual criminals, the ATF — by changing the rules without any input from Congress — is trying to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals,” Fallon said. “It’s unacceptable, it’s unfair, and, quite frankly, it’s unconstitutional.”
Patricia Gault is a seasoned journalist with years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for uncovering the truth and bringing important stories to light. Patricia has a sharp eye for detail and a talent for making complex issues accessible to a broad audience. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to accuracy and impartiality, earning a reputation as a reliable and trusted source of news.