President Joe Biden on Saturday
observed the fifth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in
Forty-nine people died and dozens more
were injured when a lone gunman opened fire in the gay nightclub on
June 12, 2016.
The nightclub never reopened and was
turned into an interim memorial.
At the time, the massacre was the
deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It also renewed calls
for stricter gun control laws.
Biden, then vice president, and former
President Barack Obama traveled to Orlando to pay their respects to
the victims and their families.
“Over the years, I have stayed in
touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have
turned their pain into purpose, and who 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,” Biden said.
Calling Pulse “hallowed ground,”
Biden announced that he would sign a bill enshrining it as a national
memorial. He also called for the passage of stricter gun control laws
and the Equality Act, an LGBT protections bill that cleared the House
and is before the Senate.
“We must create a world in which our
LGBTQ+ young people are loved, accepted, and feel safe in living
their truth. And the Senate must swiftly pass the Equality Act,
legislation that will ensure LGBTQ+ Americans finally have equal
protection under law,” he said.
“In the memory of all of those lost
at the Pulse nightclub five years ago, let us continue the work to be
a nation at our best – one that recognizes and protects the dignity
and safety of every American,” Biden concluded.