A Long Island native whose daughter was killed in the Parkland high school massacre is taking his mission to fight for stricter gun control to New York.
Fred Guttenberg, who grew up on LI and moved to Florida in 1989, became an advocate for gun control laws after his 14-year-old daughter Jaime was one of 17 students killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day 2018. He will share his story in Manhattan this month.
“I was not a politically involved person before February 14th,” Guttenberg said. “Since the day that this happened, I did the only thing that I felt natural or normal doing, and that was to jump into this fight.”
The mass shooting sparked protests and a nationwide high school walkout. Congress did not pass any new gun control measures since Parkland, but a number of states did tighten weapons laws.
In March, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is also an LI native, proposed The Ammunition Background Check Act, dubbed Jaime’s Law in honor of Jaime Guttenberg. The legislation would implement instant universal background checks for the sale of gun ammunition.
Fred also founded the nonprofit foundation Orange Ribbons for Jaime, which supports causes that were important to Jaime such as those that deal with bullying and children with special needs, as well as those dedicated to pursuing common sense gun safety reforms. This year’s charities are Jacob’s Pillow, Paley Institute, and Broward County Humane Society.
Guttenberg will be joined by ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman at the Center for Jewish History on May 23. The event, titled A Dad’s Mission After Parkland, is a part of the Center’s First Person series that features personal stories that illuminate larger themes in history and current events.
Guttenberg, who still lives in Parkland with his wife Jennifer and their son Jesse, credits his Jewish upbringing with his commitment to family, public service, and standing up for others — values he shares with his siblings.
Fred’s brother, Michael was a physician and one of the first responders during the Sept 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. As a result of Ground Zero exposure, Michael was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in October 2017, four months before the Parkland shooting.
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th St., Manhattan, programs.cjh.org $10-$15. 7 p.m. May 23.