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Religious Tolerance logo

Religiously-inspired violence.
2016-JUN: The Orlando, FL mass
murder at The Pulse LGBT nightclub:

PART 4
Still more reactions to the massacre.
Federal gun control discussions.

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This topic is continued here from Part 3.

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Still more reactions to the Massacre:

  • The Human Rights Campaign was founded by Steve Endean in 1980. It was one of the first national LGBT groups in the U.S. and is now the largest, with 1.5 million members. 1 They posted images of all 49 victims of the Orlando shooting as a memorial on their office building.

HRC: Images of Orlando victims 2

Images of the Orlando victims at the Human Right's Campaign headquarters.

  • The City of Orlando said in a statement:

    "During this difficult time, we offer heartfelt condolences to the families of the 49 victims who lost their lives during the Pulse tragedy. To the families and friends of the victims, your city is with you and will continue to be with you as you deal with this unimaginable tragedy." 3

This statement was followed by the names and ages of those who lost their lives. They range in age from 18 to 50 years. 3

  • President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden came to Orlando on Thursday, JUN-16. They offered condolences and support to families of the victims. He said:

    We’re going to have to do more to prevent these kinds of events from occurring. It’s going to take more than just our military. ... We can’t wipe away hatred and evil from every heart in the world. But we can stop some tragedies. We can save some lives."

  • Senator John McCain, (R-AZ) accused the president as being "directly responsible" for the shooting because Obama had allowed the growth of ISIS. 4

  • According to Wikipedia:

    "Many American Muslims, including community leaders, swiftly condemned the shooting. Prayer vigils for the victims were held at mosques across the country. The Florida mosque where Mateen sometimes prayed issued a statement condemning the attack and offering condolences to the victims. The Council on American–Islamic Relations [CAIR] called the attack 'monstrous' and offered its condolences to the victims. CAIR Florida urged Muslims to donate blood and contribute funds in support of the victims' families." 11

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Federal government activity:

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) co-sponsored a bill to expand background checks of people who wish to purchase firearms. He said:

"I think the background checks bill is going to be tough to pass. But keeping terrorists from buying guns -- I think we might be able to pass that." 5

Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA) proposed a narrowly-focused bill that would deny persons listed on the FBI terror watch list or the federal Terrorist Screening Center's (TSC) No Fly List the right to buy assault weapons.

Meanwhile, two amendments from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-A) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) would require a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases. The intent would be to give law enforcement sufficient time to check each purchase and have an opportunity to block the sale in court.

Senator Murphy's 15 hour filibuster lasted from middle of Wednesday JUN-15 to early Thursday. It was partly successful. It It ended when the Republicans in the Senate finally agreed to actually vote on the bill.

During those 15 hours, 38 people were shot across the country, in Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Butte, MT; Cottontown, TN; Jonesboro, GA; McKenna, WA; San Francisco, CA, and elsewhere. Of these, 11 people died of their gunshot wounds.

There was a miniscule chance that a sufficient number of Republican Senators would possibly ignore the National Rifle Association lobby and their Party's stated position by actually voting along with most Democrats to pass these measures. However, the general consensus was that all four would fail.

Even if they were to pass in the Senate, the chance of passage by the Republican-controlled House was essentially zero.

On JUN-18, President Obama (D) commented on gun control during his weekly address. He said:

"As I said a few days ago, being tough on terrorism requires more than talk. Being tough on terrorism, particularly the sorts of homegrown terrorism that we've seen now in Orlando and San Bernardino, means making it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on assault weapons that are capable of killing dozens of innocents as quickly as possible. ..." 10

"Time and again, we've observed moments of silence for victims of terror and gun violence. Too often, those moments have been followed by months of silence, by inaction, which is simply inexcusable."

He asked Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the GOP weekly address. She promoted the House Republicans' new "Better Way" agenda that promotes reforms on national security, income taxes, the economy, upholding the Constitution, etc. 10

A CNN/ORC poll found that:

"... support [among American adults] for some gun control measures was very strong, with 92% saying they wanted expanded background checks, 87% supporting a purchanse ban for felons or people with mental health problems, and 85% saying they would ban people on federal watchlists from buying guns. Among Republicans, that number is even higher -- 90% say they favor preventing people on the terror watch list or "no fly" list from buying a gun. That value is at 85% for Democrats." 6,7

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Update: 2016-JUN-21:

Before the vote in the Senate, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a sponsor of one of the measures, said:

"We've got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS."

As expected, most Democratic Senators voted for the four measures, while most Republican voted against them. All failed to pass.

After the vote, Senator Murphy said:

"I'm mortified by today's vote but I'm not surprised by it. The NRA [National Rifle Association] has a vice-like grip on this place. ... I don't think democracy allows for this Congress to be so out of step with the American public for long." 8

In the meantime, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) supports the restrictions on gun purchases and wants to meet with the leaders of the National Rifle Association to discuss some form of restriction on assault weapons. 9 This might possibly open a major gap between the Republican Party, their presumptive Presidential candidate, and the NRA.

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This topic continues in Part 5.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "HRC Story: About Us," Human Rights Campaign, 2016, at: http://www.hrc.org/
  2. Haley Miller, "WeAreOrlando: HRC Turns Building into Memorial to Orlando Victims," Human Rights Campaign, 2016-JUN-17, at: http://www.hrc.org/
  3. "Victim's Names," City of Orlando, 2016-JUN-12, at: http://www.cityoforlando.net/
  4. "In Orlando, Obama calls for healing, meets with families," SFGATE, 2016-JUN-16, at: http://www.sfgate.com/
  5. Benjamin Siegel, "Lawmaker Behind Gun Control 'Filibuster' Thinks Senate Can Pass Anti-Terror Gun Control," ABC News, 2016-JUN-17, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  6. Jennifer Agiesta & Tom LoBianco, "Poll: Gun control support spikes after shooting," CNN, 2016-JUN-20, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  7. CNN/ORC Internatational Poll, taken JUN-16-19, CNN. See link at http://www.cnn.com/
  8. Tom LoBianco, "Senate rejects series of gun measures," CNN, 2016-JUN-20, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  9. "Trump threatens to run apart from GOP on gun control," Fox News, 2016-JUN-16, at: http://video.foxnews.com/
  10. Rebecca Shabad, "Obama renews call for gun control action after Orlando," CBS News, 2016-JUN-18, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/
  11. "2016 Orlando nightclub shooting," Wikipedia, as on 2016-SEP-11, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-JUN-17
Latest update: 2016-SEP-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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