‘He asked me to come and testify about what happened here in Florida…’
(Lisa J. Huriash, Sun Sentinel) Ohio is poised to become one of the states changing gun laws after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre — and the governor has enlisted the help of a Parkland dad to make it happen.
Fred Guttenberg is the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 killed in the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting.
He was invited to testify before the Ohio Legislature by Gov. John Kasich, the former presidential candidate.
“He asked me to come and testify about what happened here in Florida and what it’s meant to our community — if red-flag (laws) had existed prior to Feb. 14 the outcome could have been different,” Guttenberg said. “I’ll testify about how it’s working in the state of Florida now that the law has been passed.”
Florida is among 13 states that have already tightened gun control laws or passed legislation aimed at improving school safety since the Feb. 14 tragedy, according to a review by the Sun Sentinel.
The other 12 states are Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
Ohio is among dozens of other states also looking at proposals in response.
Kasich has recommended changes, including prohibiting those under domestic violence protection orders from buying or possessing firearms and clarifying Ohio’s prohibition on third-party gun purchases.
Guttenberg was heading to Ohio on Tuesday. The hearings are scheduled Wednesday morning, though a vote for a “gun restraint” law hasn’t been set yet.
In Florida, lawmakers passed a sweeping school safety bill that raised the minimum age required to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 and also allows police to seize guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. The new measures also set aside nearly $400 million to beef up school security, mental health services and threat reporting.
Guttenberg’s testimony will coincide with rallies throughout Ohio.
His mother, who lives in Cincinnati, also will be speaking.
“Ohio is a lot like Florida,” he said. “Before Feb. 14 we couldn’t have done anything in Florida. You have to change hearts and minds. I’m delivering a speech that is going to be uncomfortable.
“I’m not going to make people comfortable. I’m going to make them deal with the reality. I’m going to tell them exactly what happened to my daughter and how my wife and I panicked trying to find out, what my life has been like since and what we’re going to miss.”
Jaime Guttenberg, a dancer, was shot in the back near the stairwell on the third floor of the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
“Nothing brings Jaime back, I just don’t want to be a father who (goes) to another one of these mass casualties having done nothing. I’m hoping if we can keep doing what we’re doing (to) make change around this country as rapidly as possible maybe we can prevent the next one.”
Already Guttenberg also has appealed in person to governors of Massachusetts and New Jersey. He’s also speaking with the governor of California.
©2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.