Parkland parent offers a hand, but Kavanaugh turns away

Fred Guttenberg is advocating for stronger gun laws

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

WASHINGTON - A parent of one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting said he was snubbed Tuesday by Judge Brett Kavanaugh as he tried to introduce himself during Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was one of 17 people killed in the Valentine's Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has become a staunch advocate of gun control since her death and was in Washington to advocate for stricter laws.

"Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg's dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away," Guttenberg wrote on Twitter. "I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence."

Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing was tense Tuesday. Several screaming protesters were hauled out of the hearing room and Democrats on the panel spared with their Republican colleagues over the whether the hearing should be postponed.

Kavanaugh was led away by security as Guttenberg approached, saying, "my daughter was murdered at Parkland."

Guttenberg, a guest of Sen. Diane Feinstein, was escorted out of the hearing room after the encounter, Mother Jones reported. Guttenberg told the website that he was briefly detained and was only allowed to return after promising to remain seated during the hearings.

The White House defended Kavanaugh on Twitter.

"As Judge Kavanaugh left for his lunch break, an unidentified individual approached him. Before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened," said Raj Shah, a White House spokesman.

Kavanaugh is viewed as strong supporter of gun rights. Guttenberg and other Parkland activists have expressed concerns about his appointment.

"We believe that if we got anything passed, he could declare it unconstitutional," Charlie Mirsky, the political director of March for Our Lives told NPR in July. "He could just block anything we want from staying in place."

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