NJDC Statement on Orlando Shooting

June 13, 2016

Washington D.C. - Early Sunday, a gunman stormed a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida and went on a shooting rampage, which left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. It is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.  In response to this weekend’s mass shooting, the National Jewish Democratic Council released the following statement:

“This weekend’s mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub was an attack targeting our LGBTQ community and an attack on American unity. We are appalled, deeply heartbroken, and grief stricken. Our deepest sympathies are with the victims of this act of terror, their families, their friends and their loved ones.

"We disagree with those who say there are no words to describe this tragedy.  There are words: this is a political choice we have made that a certain level of inevitable violence is an acceptable consequence of privileging the rights of those who wish to buy and use assault weapons over the rights of all people to live in peace and without mortal fear.

"So, in addition to our thoughts and prayers, we share a call for action.  How many more times must we experience such crimes of hate, violence, and terror that might have been avoided had stricter gun laws been in place?

“It is now more important than ever for all to stand together and say no to hate and violence against the LGBTQ community, religious communities, communities of color and other minority groups.  We must not let fear win, as attacks such as these are intended to tear us apart as a nation. We cannot let this happen.

“We call on our nation’s leaders to fight the cause of this attack— anger and hatred. This attack was not caused by a religion. We cannot allow it to justify the bigotry and stereotyping done by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump of the Muslim (or any other) community. We cannot allow for more hatred to fill our nation’s politics.

"Those who preach about differences among Americans as if they are always negative and who prescribe separating us by barriers, real or virtual, cannot be surprised when groups are targeted by violence because of their nationality, beliefs or practices.

"Of course, there are those who hate all over the world, not just in the United States.  However, the United States makes it all too easy to turn the hatred of even a single individual into mass fatalities due to our lax gun laws.  Democrats could not even get through Republican obstructionism with a proposal to keep suspected terrorists on the "no-fly" list from being able to legally obtain guns. Had such a proposal become law, perhaps the Orlando tragedy could have been avoided.

"It is the height of stupidity that some of our politicians say we should keep whole groups of people out of the country but do not accept any regulation of those or any other people when they walk into gun shops and purchase assault weapons.  Reasonable regulation of access to domestic weapons of terror that in no way threatens second amendment rights is way overdue.  Now is the time, not a moment later, for our political leaders to show some courage, fight the gun lobby and take away the worry from mothers and fathers throughout the country that the next victims of mass shootings in schools, shopping centers, movie theaters or clubs will be their children.

“After this appalling attack in Orlando, let us denounce hate in all its forms, while taking action to make hate crimes much harder to commit."