Joe Biden remembers Pulse victims, calls for gun reform
Image via AP.

pulse memorial
It has been seven years since a gunman killed 49 people at the Orlando club.

President Joe Biden marked the seven-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting and called for action to limit gun violence.

“Seven years ago today, our nation suffered what was then the deadliest mass shooting in American history,” Biden tweeted.

“Forty-nine people, predominantly Latino LGBTQI+ people, lost their lives in a senseless act of gun violence.”

On June 12, 2016, Port St. Lucie man Omar Mateen entered the Orlando gay nightclub on Latin night. He fired at least 186 shots from a Sig Sauer purchased days before, and 22 shots from a 9mm handgun.

Mateen killed 49 people in the club, and died after police shot him seven times after an hourslong standoff.

Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden want to see policy changes that limit mass shootings.

“Today, on Pulse Remembrance Day, Jill and I pray for the families of the victims and every survivor who still carries the trauma,” he posted.

“It’s time for Congress to make commonsense reforms to keep our communities safe. Americans deserve nothing less.”

Biden in 2021 signed a law designating the Orlando club site as a national memorial. Of note, a temporary memorial stands at the site now, and there has been criticism about the slowness in establishing a permanent museum.

Political leaders in Florida also remembered the 49 victims killed in the attack.

Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican who was Governor when the attack occurred, tweeted a photo of himself touring the memorial.

“Seven years ago today, we lost 49 innocent lives in an attack on the city of Orlando, our Hispanic community and our LGBTQ community in an act of evil terrorism,” he tweeted. “But this act of evil, meant to break us and spread hate into the world, had the opposite effect. Today, we honor the memory of those 49 innocent lives and renew our steadfast commitment to fight against the evil and hate that took them from us.”

Elected leaders in Orlando called for action.

“On this day in 2016, 49 angels were murdered at Pulse Nightclub by senseless gun violence. Armed bigotry, hate and homophobia completely devastated our community,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, an Orlando Democrat. “Today, we remember their stories and recommit ourselves to honoring their lives with action. I love you, Orlando. WE WILL END GUN VIOLENCE. WE WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING.”

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, tweeted a collage of photos of victims.

“Fathers. Mothers. Brothers. Sisters. Daughters. Sons. Taken forever as they sought the joy, love and acceptance of Pulse nightclub,” she tweeted. “We continue to honor their lives through action as we fight back against all forms of bigotry and work to prevent gun violence.

“I also want to acknowledge that these have been horrifying bad times for the LGBTQ+ community. Not only have we seen a rise of homophobia and transphobia, but Governor (Ron) DeSantis has signed multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law. Now is more important than ever for us to stand up for equality and lead with love above all else.”

Former state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat running for Florida Senate, also remembered the victims.

“It’s been 7 years since an act of hate took 49 friends, family and neighbors at Pulse nightclub, a haven for LGBTQ people on Latin night. Their stories will never be forgotten and our community was changed forever,” he tweeted.

“The fight for equality, dignity and freedom from gun violence has never been more important. LGBTQ Floridians have overcome dark times before and with far fewer allies than we have today. As we #HonorThemWithAction, let’s continue to resist bigotry by proudly raising our flags.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 12, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Nice of Biden to remember Pulse. What did the Florida Men have to say? Did the Ron Don Serf Shop issue any statement such as “Soon, Christians will take back this nation, and then it will be time to take out the trash. So, how should we execute these filthy faggots?”

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