ASTORIA– The June 12th mass shooting terrorist attack has been confirmed as the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident against the LGBT community in US history. The attack left 49 killed and 53 injured. Thousands of people have expressed their profound sadness and shown support for the victims and their families while making a stand against gun violence in gatherings across the country and around the world. On Saturday, June 18, the community of western Queens will hold a vigil in Astoria Park for the victims of the Orlando, FL shooting at the Pulse nightclub. The elected representatives of the community condemn the attack in the strongest terms possible and are calling for solidarity against the hate that inspired the attack.
Senator Michael Gianaris a leading advocate for stricter gun laws as well as sweeping anti-terror and anti-hate measures said, “I am sickened by how common these attacks have become. While I am proud to have authored key parts of New York’s strictest gun laws in the nation, it is time for our federal government to follow suit and put a stop to these monstrous and inhumane shootings. My thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act and the LGBT community that was targeted.”
The Senator authored two bills included in the New York SAFE Act establishing universal background checks for firearms sales and the regulation of firearm and ammunition dealers. He also authored legislation protecting New York’s sensitive power and transportation infrastructure including the Energy Security Act, the first major anti-terror law after 9/11 and a national model in anti-terror legislation.
Rep. Joe Crowley said, “As our nation mourns the lives lost during yet another brutal, senseless act of violence, we stand united with the people of Orlando and the members of our LGBT community to denounce hate, any attempt to instill fear within our communities, and efforts to undermine the values we hold dear as Americans. But we can also come together to see what steps we can take to help prevent tragedies like this in the future. Gun violence continues to take an incredible toll on our society and we owe to the victims in Orlando and all over the country, to act swiftly and figure out how we can keep dangerous weapons of war off of our streets and from falling into the wrong hands.”
Senator Jose Peralta said, “As we continue to mourn, pray and bury the victims of the heartbreaking massacre in Orlando, I hope that we, once and for all, come together and put an end to gun violence. For far too many times, we have come together to denounce barbaric acts. This has to stop, and it has to stop now. We must work with one voice to prevent crimes of hate, hate against the LGBTQ community, and hate against America, from occurring again and again.”
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said, “Our hearts are breaking for the victims of the Orlando massacre and for their devastated families and friends. But grief won’t stop the next madman armed with an assault rifle. We need an outright, nationwide ban on the sale of assault rifles. It’s long past time for the U.S. Congress to act. Assault rifles do not belong in the hands of civilians. Western Queens, like our nation, is a beautiful amalgam of people from all backgrounds, orientations and many faiths. We all share in the blessing that is freedom. We all have the right to live unafraid of being slaughtered by assault weapons because of who we are or where we happen to be at any particular moment.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “We are all saddened by the horrific acts in Orlando. Our thoughts are with the victims of the massacre and their friends and families. We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community against this senseless act of violence and terror. This heinous crime shows that we must enact comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation on a national level.”