A message from Ventura County on gun violence

Action #1: Share this important message from Susan Schmidt-Orfanos.

“Most of you don’t know me. Our son Telemachus Orfanos, was murdered in the Borderline mass shooting on Nov. 7, 2018. Our lives were and continue to be shattered. The pain, the anguish and the rage are often uncontrollable. My family continues to work with a number of gun safety organizations to find ways to finally end gun violence. So that no more families experience this horror.

We need your help.

On December 2, devastated by the school shooting in Michigan, Manuel Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin at the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida flew to Washington D.C. to demand a meeting with President Biden in order to urge him to prioritize gun violence reduction. (UPDATE: Message from Manuel at the bottom of this post)

Manny is not leaving. Then-candidate Biden promised all gun violence survivors he would use all his powers to mitigate gun violence. We are all still waiting.”

Contact the White House: 202-456-1111 || 202-456-1414.,
email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code][state] to ask President Biden to meet with Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland Florida. He’s flown to Washington D.C. to personally ask the president to pledge that he’ll announce a plan of action for reducing gun violence at his State of the Union address.

Contact your senators:

  • Senator Feinstein: (202) 224-3841
  • Senator Padilla: (202) 224-3553

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Senator [___] to urge President Biden to meet with Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland Florida. He’s flown to Washington D.C. to personally ask the president to pledge that he’ll announce a plan of action for reducing gun violence at his State of the Union address.

Furthermore, in the names of those who’ve died from gun violence, including those from the Borderline mass shooting in our county, I ask that you expedite the passage of S.529, the “Background Check Expansion Act,” which has already been passed by the House, as well as S.591, the “Background Check Completion Act, and S.281 – the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act

Tweet your support:

Please tweet your support at #meetwithmanny. We will be calling daily. Make this finally enough death. Enough injuries. End gun violence. Our families and yours deserve a country that is safe to live in. Thank you all


Action #2: Pass CA’s AB 452 – Pupil safety: parental notification: firearm safety laws.

AB 452 would require California schools to notify parents about our state’s stringent safe firearm storage laws. Last session, this bill was left behind. Please send a message to your legislators, especially those who are on the Assembly Education Committee, to support this bill.

You can use Brady United’s fill-in form here (https://act.bradyunited.org/a/urge-your-lawmakers-bring-ab-452-hearing), or send your own message to your legislator.

Sample email message: As a Californian and a supporter of Brady (www.bradyunited.org), I’m asking that you please hear ane approve AB 452 in the Assembly Committee on Education as soon as the 2022 session begins. The time is now. We must keep our kids and communities safe.

Each day in America, eight children and teens are unintentionally shot and killed. It’s called “family fire,” a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused firearm in the home. Over the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed record-breaking gun sales to first-time purchasers — many unsure about how to safely store their firearms. Already, 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unsecured firearm. Additionally, 76 percent of school shootings are facilitated by kids having access to unsecured or unsupervised guns in the home. A real-world example of unsecured firearms causing senseless violence is what happened in Oxford, MI, in December: a 15-year-old gunman used a firearm purchased by his father to murder four of his classmates and injure seven others.

We must ensure resources are available to prevent family fire and senseless school shootings. This common-sense measure would require the California Department of Education to create a notification regarding safe firearm storage that is annually provided to schools, helping prevent family fire.

AB 452 is almost identical to 2019’s AB 276, which was legislation passed out of your committee unanimously two years ago. I’m asking that you do the same for AB 452 this year. Please, give California residents like myself and the sponsors of AB 452 the opportunity to have the bill come up for a hearing and vote. I know it will help promote safe gun storage and save countless lives in California.

Update: We received the following on Friday, 12/10.

Today is my 9th day standing outside the White House. And I have no intention of leaving until President Biden agrees to meet with me.

If we haven’t met, my name is Manuel Oliver. My son Joaquin, or as we called him, “Guac,” was murdered at his school — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — four years ago. And I think of him every single day. If he were here today, I know he would be holding the line with me.

You might ask, why now? Why, four years after my son was taken from me, am I standing outside the White House demanding a meeting? The Oxford High School shooting last week was a flashback that made me question my activism and what real, tangible change we’ve made in the last four years. I felt guilty for letting this happen under the same circumstances, but with more than 150,000 more victims of gun violence gone.

Listen, on the campaign trail, President Biden promised my wife and me personally that his administration would fight back against gun violence. He told us that he has fought the NRA before and will do it again. I still have faith in him and his administration, but I’m disappointed that I haven’t seen action. This is why I decided to stand outside, in the freezing D.C. temperatures, until he takes the time to hear me. I tweet at the President and the White House correspondents, every day. But my message needs more voices to break through, which is why I need your help.

Will you write an email to the White House demanding that President Biden #MeetWithManny?

When he agrees to meet with me, I will urge him to use the full power of the presidency to fulfill his promises. I will ask him to unite Congress and urge them to treat this as a National Emergency and outline a plan for addressing gun violence in the State of the Union. I will push him to establish a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention — an action that he can take with the stroke of a pen.

Please, Veronica James, take action with me today. Some people see these actions as sacrifices when they are actually duties. My wife and I belong to this fight and our roles as parents are not over.

I hope we get the chance to celebrate safety sooner than later.

Manuel Oliver
Father and best friend of Joaquin “Guac” Oliver
Activist and Founder of Change the Ref

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