In a statement on Saturday, President Biden said he would sign a bill designating the Pulse Nightclub a national memorial. Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the massacre, in which 49 people were killed and several wounded after a gunman opened fire in the crowded nightclub.
“In the coming days, I will sign a bill designating Pulse Nightclub as a national memorial, enshrining in law what has been true since that terrible day five years ago: Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground,” the President said in the statement. His statement comes after the Senate last week voted on a bill first proposed and passed in the House to commemorate Pulse as a national memorial.
Biden, who was Vice President at the time of the massacre, also used the statement to speak out against gun violence, specifically against those in the LGBTQ+ community.
“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,” he said.
The President called for an end to loopholes that allow individuals to bypass background checks, a ban on assault weapons with high capacity magazines, and for the elimination of gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability. He also stated that we need to recognize the impact gun violence has on LGBTQ+ communities. “We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women — especially transgender women of color,” he said, adding, “We must create a world in which our LGBTQ+ young people are loved, accepted, and feel safe in living their truth.”
The President also called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which passed in the House in February. The bill is expected to face more opposition in the Senate.