Biden to designate Pulse nightclub as national memorial, renews gun control calls on mass shooting anniversary

Biden to designate Pulse nightclub as national memorial, renews gun control calls on mass shooting anniversary

President Joe Biden announced Saturday that he would designate Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were gunned down five years ago, a national memorial, as he again called on Congress to pass gun control legislation. 

In Orlando, Florida, a gunman opened fire, killing 49 and leaving 53 wounded at the LGBTQ nightclub in 2016. 

Biden pushed for the Senate to take up House-passed legislation to close loopholes to background checks, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, establish “red flag” laws and eliminate gun manufacturers’ liability immunity. 

He also said the nation must acknowledge the impact of gun violence on the LGBTQ community.

“We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color,” the president said. 

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Biden also called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Biden said he’d kept in touch with the families that lost loved ones in the nightclub tragedy. He said they “remind us that we must do more than remember victims of gun violence and all of the survivors, family members, and friends left behind; we must act.”

On Friday, domestic policy advisor Susan Rice and senior advisor Cedric Richmond hosted a virtual roundtable with LGBTQ+ leaders, gun violence survivors and gun control advocates.

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On Saturday Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff dropped in to the Capital Pride walk. 

“We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need, still, protections around employment and housing,” Harris said. “There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.”