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Source: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Father of Parkland shooting victim removed from State of the Union for shouting at Trump


Feb. 5 2020, Updated 9:06 a.m. ET

Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, was removed from the House gallery during President Donald Trump's State of the Union. As President Trump pledged to protect the rights of gun owners, Guttenberg could be heard shouting.

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President Trump continued his speech as a plainclothes police officer removed Guttenberg from the audience. 

Guttenberg was invited to the State of the Union by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and shared a photograph of himself with Pelosi shortly before the event began.

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"Thank you [Speaker Pelosi] for inviting me to be your guest tonight at the State Of The Union," Guttenberg wrote earlier in the day. "I cannot thank you enough for your commitment to issues important to Americans and to the issue most important to me on dealing with gun violence." 

Guttenberg's daughter, Jaime, was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a gunman killed her and 13 other students alongside three members of staff nearly two years ago.

Guttenberg has since dedicated himself to raising money for Jaime's favorite charitable programs and "pursuing common-sense gun safety reforms."

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During the State of the Union, President Trump offered his support to gun owners, stating: “Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country. So long as I am president I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” 

Guttenberg then reportedly began shouting from the gallery that his daughter was a victim of gun violence. Many democrats began applauding the father as he was removed by police officers, according to NBC News reporter Kasie Hunt.

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In a statement on Twitter, Guttenberg explained why he disrupted the event: "Tonight was a rough night. I disrupted the State Of The Union and was detained because I let my emotions get the best of me. I simply want to be able to deal with the reality of gun violence and not have to listen to the lies about the [Second Amendment] as happened tonight."

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"That said, I should not have yelled out. I am thankful for the overwhelming support that I am receiving. However, I do owe my family and friends an apology. I have tried to conduct myself with dignity throughout this process and I will do better as I pursue gun safety."

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Though Guttenberg seemed to have the support of many, with the hashtag #ImWithFred trending on Twitter.

"Fred is grieving, courageous and important. I appreciate him and his voice," one user wrote.

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While another added: "My friend, no need to apologize for standing tall for your wonderful daughter's memory, for truth and against the gun lobby."


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