Lawmakers mourn the 49 people killed by a gunman five years after the Pulse nightclub shooting

orlando pulse nightclub shooting memorial
This Monday, July 11, 2016, photo shows a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, a month after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

  • It’s been five years since a gunman killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Florida.
  • Lawmakers on Saturday mourned the victims and vowed to continue fighting for gun reform.
  • Years after the shooting, Florida has still not made any drastic changes to its gun control laws, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Saturday marks the five-year anniversary of the fatal shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Florida.

In commemoration of the event, the Senate earlier this week unanimously passed legislation designating the gay club a national memorial. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden to sign.

Lawmakers over the weekend continued to mourn the 49 victims.

“It has been five years but it feels like yesterday,” Rep. Val Demings of Florida said in a statement. “Today I am thinking of the 49 who we lost-49 human beings, 49 dreams, 49 futures, 49 families missing a loved one. I am thinking of the survivors who still need our fullest support as they work through physical and mental wounds.”

The Pulse shooting on June 12, 2016, stands as the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history. Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, killing 49 and injuring dozens of others. Police responding to 911 calls at the club killed Mateen.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Twitter that the state “honors the memories of those who were murdered on one of the darkest days in Florida’s history.”

Some lawmakers on Saturday went further than mourning and recognition of the shooting, and reiterated a call for gun reform.

“Today, I remember the lives lost and forever changed, and I again call on the Senate to bring our gun safety legislation to a vote,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Scott Peters of California echoed Spanberger’s call for action. “We must continue to condemn all forms of hatred & demand life-saving gun reform,” he said.

Human-rights and anti-gun organizations, however, say lawmakers aren’t doing enough to enact gun control in the wake of the shooting’s anniversary.

“It has been 1,826 days since this tragedy, yet nothing has changed,” the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing LGBT rights, wrote on Twitter early Saturday.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control measures, said the organization vows “to continue fighting for a world free from gun violence.”

About a year after the Pulse shooting, at the time the deadliest in US history, a gunman opened fire from a hotel room window in Las Vegas, killing 58 people attending an outdoor musical festival and wounding hundreds of others.

Despite continued calls from nonprofits like Everytown for Gun Safety, gun control laws in Florida have not been drastically addressed since Pulse, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

A Florida state legislator has brought bills banning assault-style rifles but couldn’t get past the GOP-controlled legislature, for example.

“We’ve got problems in Tallahassee because we appear to be going in the opposite direction,” State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith told the Sentinel. “We have not been given a single hearing by the majority party, even if symbolic. They refuse to put this issue on the agenda. [But] the issue is not going away.”

Biden in a statement posted Saturday echoed lawmakers’ calls to pass gun reform legislation.

“It is long past time we close the loopholes that allow gun buyers to bypass background checks in this country, and the Senate should start by passing the three House-passed bills which would do exactly that,” he said. “It is long past time we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, establish extreme risk protection orders, also known as “red flag” laws, and eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted in defense of gun rights just hours before a mass shooting in Bryan, Texas – the 14th in the state this year

greg abbott texas rangers mlb voting suppression
Abbott tweeted he and his wife were “praying for the victims & their families & for the injured officer” following the shooting.

  • On Thursday, a mass shooting in Bryan, Texas, left one dead and several injured.
  • Just hours before, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted his support of a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” bill.
  • The bill would make it so Texas authorities would not have to abide by federal gun control laws.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Just hours before a mass shooting in Bryan, Texas, left one dead and multiple people injured, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted out that President Joe Biden was “threatening our Second Amendment rights” and attempting to “take away our guns.”

The shooting occurred at Kent Moore Cabinets on Thursday afternoon; one person was killed, while four others were critically injured, and one victim suffered non-critical injuries. One victim is a state trooper who helped chase down the suspect. A suspect – believed to be an employee of Kent Moore Cabinets – is in custody but has not yet been named by authorities.

Around noon on Thursday, Gov. Abbott took to Twitter to defend gun rights.

“Biden is threatening our Second Amendment rights,” the tweet read. “He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns. We will NOT allow this in TX. It’s time to get legislation making TX a Second Amendment Sanctuary State passed and to my desk for signing.”

The “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” legislation Abbott is referring to is HB 2622, introduced in March, which calls to establish Texas as a “sanctuary” state in which federal gun laws cannot be enforced. The legislation is modeled off the sanctuary cities framework, in which cities could declare themselves sanctuaries within which Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices could not be enforced.

Abbott has repeatedly touted the sanctuary state bill, though in the past he’s signaled support for limited gun control. Following the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left 23 people dead and scores of others injured, the governor said he would consider supporting more scrupulous background checks.

“Right now, there is nothing in the law that would prevent one stranger from selling a gun to a terrorist, and obviously that’s a danger that needs to be looked into,” Abbott said in 2019, the Texas Tribune reported.

Since then, however, Abbott has again picked up the mantle of gun rights.

“Last session, I signed 10 laws to protect gun rights in Texas,” he said in February. “This session we need to erect a complete barrier against any government office anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas.”

Gun rights advocates like Abbott are bristling against a series of six executive orders Biden unveiled this week aimed at curbing gun violence, including actions to remove “ghost guns” from the streets and the regulation of gun accessories.

During a White House Rose Garden speech on the orders, Biden called the US epidemic of gun violence an “international embarrassment,” and said: “The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character.”

Following the shooting, Abbott tweeted that he was working with state law enforcement on a “swift response” and that he and his wife Cecilia “are praying for the victims & their families & for the injured officer.”

This is the 14th such mass shooting in the state since January 1. Thus far, there have been more than 100 mass shootings in the US since the beginning of the year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

2 hours after the mass shooting in Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert sent a campaign email encouraging supporters to say ‘HELL NO’ to gun control

Rep Lauren Boebert of Colorado
Rep Lauren Boebert of Colorado

  • Rep. Lauren Boebert was tweeting about Biden while a mass shooting was unfolding in her home state.
  • Following the shooting that left ten dead, Boebert said she was praying for those affected.
  • The representative’s campaign reportedly sent a pro-gun email to supporters two hours after the shooting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

One of Congress’ most ardent Second Amendment supporters is facing backlash after a series of insensitive communications following a mass shooting that left ten dead in a Boulder, Colorado supermarket on Monday.

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has quickly made a name for herself as a pro-gun, right-wing ideologue during her short time in the House of Representatives, but her response to Monday’s shooting in her home state drew sharp criticism.

Reports of an active shooter situation at a King Soopers grocery store began circulating shortly before 3 pm local time. Thirty minutes later, a local livestream of the scene showed officers detaining a handcuffed, shirtless man who was covered in blood.

But as local law enforcement, media outlets, and politicians were awaiting more information about the incident, Boebert was tweeting about the US Southern border and President Biden.

“The White House just called a lid at 1:13pm today. Biden is back in the basement, figuratively at least,” she tweeted at 2:51 pm.

“Meanwhile, the country is in chaos and the border is coming apart at the seams,” she wrote.

Following a swift barrage of Twitter users blasting Boebert for her timing, the freshman representative issued a statement addressing the shooting.

“My prayers are with the shoppers, employees, first responders & others affected by the shooting in Boulder,” she tweeted. “May God be with them.”

Amid an ongoing spew of mass shootings in recent years, the stump phrase “thoughts and prayers” has become the go-to-response for many politicians, instead of tangible policy changes to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States.

But Boebert, who has hinted she carries a gun to work in the US Capitol and has appeared at a virtual committee meeting in front of a multi-gun display, was quickly back to championing gun rights Monday night.

Two hours after the shooting, Boebert’s campaign reportedly sent her supporters an email with a subject line that said, “I told Beto ‘HELL NO’ to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden,” according to a tweet from journalist David Gura.

“Radical liberals in Washington, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and with President Biden’s blessing and support are trying to violate your due process and criminalize the private transfer of firearms,” a photo Gura tweeted of the email said. “Please help me stand up to the radical gun-grabbing left.”

She is the founder and owner of Shooters Grill, a Colorado restaurant infamous for staff that “proudly open carry as they serve their customers.”

Boebert has been a vocal opponent of gun control and background checks, often sharing a bogus story about a man being “beaten to death” outside her gun-themed restaurant as an avenue to advocate for gun rights. The local police department debunked her claims after an autopsy showed the man had died from a drug overdose.

Insider has reached out to Boebert’s campaign for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider