PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Fred Guttenberg, the father of a child killed in a shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 has spoken out on social media after a Portsmouth City Council member wore an AR-15 to a meeting Tuesday night.
Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime Guttenburg was one of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is calling for the resignation of Councilman Nathan Clark.
Clark wore an AR-15 to the meeting, during which council voted 4-3 to approve a resolution declaring the city a “Second Amendment Constitutional City.”
Guttenberg shared a media tweet showing photos of Clark with a comment: “Councilman Nathan Clark resign.
Citizens you represent should not be forced to accept him engaging in open intimidation with his AR 15.
You gun lunatic, in spite of your letter, nobody knows your intent. My daughter did not know someone carrying a AR 15 would kill her.”
Guttenberg gave a separate statement to 10 On Your Side.
“A couple of months ago, Moms Demand was greeted by men carrying AR 15’s as a form of intimidation. What this council member did was not with the intention of being productive, it was intended to intimidate. I learned the hard way that when someone is carrying an AR 15, we do not know their intentions. This councilman used his weapon to intimidate and gave others the belief that what he did was ok. For this, he should resign.”– FRED GUTTENBERG
Clark isn’t backing down from his stance on the issue. He also released a statement.
“The Parkland shooting was undoubtedly a tragedy, and no one should have to go through that. I have been in law enforcement for 30 years and at one point I was a school resource officer – I can’t begin to imagine being in that situation. I stand by my actions last night. My intentions were far from negative, as I was standing up for what is right. I acted positively, and received plenty of positive feedback in return. As I previously stated, I will continue to stand by the oath I have taken as a veteran, law enforcement officer, and member of Portsmouth city council.”– PORTSMOUTH COUNCILMAN NATHAN CLARK
Virginia Del. Don Scott, who represents the 80th District in Portsmouth, said the move was a political stunt.
“To do that, I believe it’s irresponsible and I think it just exacerbates the situation and it prevents us from having an intelligent political conversation about what we need to do to protect our families,” Scott said.
In a letter to Portsmouth residents given out Tuesday, Clark described the point he was trying to make by wearing the weapon.
“The newly proposed gun legislation for the state of Virginia is ludicrous,” the letter reads. “The legislation will make criminals of lawful citizens and gun owners. Again, I am a law enforcement officer, and if this legislation is passed, I will also be made a criminal.
“Taking away the rights of our citizens not only puts them in greater danger, but the act is unconstitutional. Criminals have always and will always break the law. We must punish the existing criminals for their actions, and not take away the means of defense from law-abiding citizens.”