HOUSTON (WSVN) — The parents of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver took their calls for gun control legislation on the road with a powerful moving presentation, and their first stop was at the home of a Texas senator with ties to gun lobby groups.
Manuel and Patricia Oliver literally drive the point home with a protest they want some lawmakers to see: 52 empty school buses, representing the 4,368 child victims of gun violence since 2020, all organized in the shape of a gun.
Inside some buses are video footage and personal belongings of children who have lost their lives.
The mobile museum was created by Change the Ref, an organization founded by the Olivers. The couple said the presentation was named after the National Rifle Association.
“We bring our latest campaign, our latest project. It’s called the NRA Children’s Museum,” Manuel said.
The Olivers lost Joaquin in the February 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen people were killed in the massacre.
The couple said they show the museum to politicians who receive funding from the NRA. They made their first stop Thursday, outside the home of US Senator Ted Cruz.
The Republican lawmaker has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from gun lobby groups.
“Mr. Cruz received a huge amount of money from the NRA, and that’s the reason things are not moving forward,” Manuel said.
The Olivers ask Cruz to enact legislation for universal background checks and to stop accepting NRA funding.
“Representing this corruption, representing this way of doing business with the NRA instead of prioritizing the lives of our children, that’s something we need to call out,” Manuel said.
The Olivers also gave the senator a letter that Joaquin wrote when he was 12 years old.
Patricia read the letter aloud.
“’I am writing this letter to talk to you about how we will resolve this gun law movement. Most of you have a problem with the idea of a universal background check. Why are you mad there’s a background check? It’s for your good,” she said. “’Maybe you like having madmen with death machines. You shouldn’t have anything against background checks if you’re innocent. Thank you, Joaquin, Coral Springs.
In response, Cruz’s office says it is committed to policies such as more resource officers, mental health programs and enhanced background checks.
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