“Five years ago today in Orlando in the middle of Pride Month, our nation suffered the deadliest attack affecting the LGBTQ+ community in American history, and axat the time, the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman,” he said in a statement released by the White House. “Within minutes, the Pulse nightclub that had long been a place of acceptance and joy turned into a place of unspeakable pain and loss.
The statement comes just days after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R.49—a bill that declares the Orlando nightclub a formal memorial.
On June 12, 2016, a 29-year-old man entered the LGBTQ nightclub and opened fire, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. The attack took place during the venue’s “Latin Night,” and is said to be the largest mass killing of gay people in the United State’s history. Officers killed the lone gunman after a three-hour standoff.
Biden referred to gun violence as a public health issue, and called on political leaders to pass overdue gun reform laws.
“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 continued. “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. We must also acknowledge gun violence’s particular impact on LGBTQ+ communities across our nation.”