The father of one of the students killed in a Florida high school shooting clapped back condolences New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney sent via Twitter for the shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 people dead.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed during the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018, called Sweeney an "obstacle" to gun safety.

Twelve people were killed and several others wounded when DeWayne Craddock, a soft-spoken engineer with the Virginia Beach utilities department, opened fire on his co-workers on Friday afternoon as they finished up their work week Friday. Craddock was killed during a gun battle with police.

Sweeney said on Saturday he was at a "loss for words" over the shooting.

"My heart goes to the families of all the victims going through unimaginable pain in Virginia Beach," the Democrat wrote on Twiter.

Guttenberg praised Gov. Phil Murphy for "being a leader in the fight for gun safety.

"It is time you work with the Governor and do something," Guttenberg wrote in a reply to Sweeney.

Sweeney has a mixed past when it comes to gun control advocacy.

During an hour-long program on New Jersey 101.5 in March, Sweeney said New Jersey has one of the most restrictive gun-control laws in the nation, which made him reluctant to sign onto some of Murphy's six gun measures — which were approved in 2018 with Sweeney's support.

Sweeney said he was skeptical of raising the fees on gun permits, which Murphy's latest budget proposal seeks to increase.

However, in 2015 Sweeney was ready to have State Police bring in legislators for an override vote on a bill that would have required notifying local police whenever someone with documented mental illness seeks to expunge that record before applying for a gun permit. The override vote failed.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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