An attack on an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub early Sunday left 50 people dead and 53 more wounded, making it the deadliest mass shooting ever on U.S. soil. The gunman pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the shooting, and his father said he was recently enraged by a gay couple kissing, according to media reports.
The attack took place during Pride Month, when LGBT individuals across the nation celebrate their communities.
In response, LGBT rights and gun control groups released statements on social media and their websites in the hours after news about the mass shooting began to emerge. Many groups moved quickly to offer condolences and shine a light on the issues of discrimination and hate crimes, as well as the sheer number of gun violence victims in the U.S.
Human Rights Campaign
Our hearts break for the victims and families of this horrific act of violence. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in #Orlando.— GLAAD (@glaad) June 12, 2016
Gun-control groups also moved quickly with statements both condemning the shooting and reiterating the need for more comprehensive gun control laws.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Everytown for Gun Safety
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot in the head in 2011, also issued a statement through her gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
This is a sad, dark day for our country we all love. We want to say that this tragedy is unthinkable. But it is not. pic.twitter.com/UcC3q17PTX— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) June 12, 2016
The Pink Pistols, a group dedicated to self-defense for LGBT individuals, urged others not to blame guns for the incident. "This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns," said Gwendolyn Patton, the organization’s first speaker. "Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many."
The largest pro-gun group in the U.S., the National Rifle Association, has stayed quiet since the shooting. Gun Owners of America tweeted that gun control could not have stopped it, as did the National Association for Gun Rights.
Gun Owners of America
Evil struck in Orlando yesterday morning. No matter how tragic, no amount of gun control could've stopped evil. https://t.co/5ERnBH7aky— GunOwnersofAmerica (@GunOwners) June 13, 2016
National Association for Gun Right
Did you hear who President Obama and the gun control cabal say are to blame for Orlando?— NatlGunRights (@NatlGunRights) June 13, 2016
You, the American gun... https://t.co/dQWX22mT9s