Jun 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Pulse Nightclub "hallowed ground" on mass shooting anniversary

People in 2018 visiting a memorial for the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

People in 2018 visiting a memorial for the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground," President Biden said on Saturday, the five-year anniversary of one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.

Driving the news: The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that will officially designate the nightclub a national memorial.

What they're saying: Biden said in a statement he will sign the legislation in the coming days, "enshrining in law what has been true since that terrible day five years ago: Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground."

  • "Within minutes, the Pulse nightclub that had long been a place of acceptance and joy turned into a place of unspeakable pain and loss," the president added.
  • "Forty-nine people were there celebrating Latin night were murdered, even more injured, and countless others scarred forever – the victims were family members, partners and friends, veterans and students, young, Black, Asian and Latino – our fellow Americans."
  • "A few days later, I traveled with President Obama to pay respects to them and their families, to thank the brave first responders and the community who found strength and compassion in each other, and to pledge that what happened would not be forgotten."
  • "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."

The big picture: Biden called on the Senate to approve gun control bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

  • "It is long past time we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, establish extreme risk protection orders, also known as 'red flag' laws, and eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability."
  • "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 said.
Go deeper