Official Remarks: Stand With Parkland President Tony Montalto


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, families of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida spoke out at a press conference in support of H.R.8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.” Following are official remarks by Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland, as prepared for delivery.

“Good Morning, I am Tony Montalto, My daughter Gina was one of the 17 wonderful souls lost in the Parkland, Florida massacre nearly one year ago – on February 14, 2018.

“I am speaking to you today as the President of Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools, which was founded by the families who lost loved ones on that horrific day. The loss of our beloved spouses and children while at school was devastating. We all realized change was needed to avoid another mass shooting in America’s schools.

“H.R. 8, “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” should be an important piece in helping our nation keep students and staff safe at school. We need robust laws on the books and enforcement on the streets in order to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. Mandatory background checks on all sales and transfers of firearms need to become part of any national effort to prevent our children from being murdered at school.

“Stand with Parkland advocates for a holistic approach toward improving the safety of all schools by securing the campus, improving mental health screening and intervention, and promoting responsible firearms ownership.

“In the nearly twenty years since Columbine, our nation has made little progress in stopping mass school shootings. It is an issue that affects us all, Democrats and Republicans alike. This is why solutions like H.R. 8, “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” are so important. The effort to solve this complex issue begins when all Americans show a willingness to have discussions and respectfully listen to the views of others. Surely, there is more that unites us on this issue than divides us.

“Several members of this 116th Congress have come together to try and solve the problem. Representatives Thompson from California, King and Nadler from New York, Deutch from Florida, Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania, and McBath from Georgia have all gathered here today, not just as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. They see the need for laws that help keep students and staff members safe in our nation’s schools.

“Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools is proud to join with Everytown for Gun Safety in supporting H.R. 8, “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.” We hope it moves quickly through the House of Representatives, is taken up by the Senate for consideration, and sent to the President in a timely fashion. We applaud the bipartisan nature of this bill and hope to see further cooperation on other bills – to protect America’s students and staff members while at school.”

Stand with Parkland is a national organization representing American families. We are committed to advocating for practical public safety reforms focused on the safety of our children and staff at school, improved mental health support, and responsible firearms ownership. Personal responsibility and a desire for change are paramount to this effort, and it is the people involved at all levels that will make these goals a reality. Violence in our schools affects everyone. It is an American epidemic, and it is time that we all come together to do something about it.

Stand with Parkland’s families are committed to safe schools for our nation’s students and staff members and to achieving concrete results at the federal, state, and local level. More information is available at