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CAPAC Members Comment on Orlando Massacre

WASHINGTON — Following are statements from members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus about the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. on June 12:

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “No words can truly express the pain and heartbreak I feel for the victims in Orlando and their families. My thoughts are with them during this dark hour. This horrific tragedy reflects an ideology of hate and intolerance and its aim is to instill fear in our communities and our country. We cannot and will not allow it to succeed.

“I will always be a proud member of the LGBT community and I will always feel proud to live in a country built on the principles of freedom and tolerance. No person or group can take that away.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “My thoughts are with the victims, families, and loved ones affected by Sunday’s horrible shooting at Pulse in Orlando. But thoughts are not enough. We must speak out against prejudice and hate and take action to keep the most dangerous weapons out of the most dangerous hands. We all deserve to feel safe in our communities.”

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose): “Today, dozens of members of Congress and their staff took to the Capitol steps for a vigil and moment of silence for the victims and survivors in Orlando. Just hours later, we were on the House floor, where we held yet another moment of silence for yet another mass shooting, but this time we were not silent. We protested and demanded Speaker [Paul] Ryan and House Republicans to take common-sense action — allow research on gun violence and stop suspected terrorists from getting their hands on guns. Enough is enough!

“Saturday night’s brutal attack against the LGBTQ community is a challenge for every American to stand for equality for LGBTQ people and against hatred toward Muslim Americans.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Our entire nation stands with Orlando and the LGBT community as we process the pain and grief we feel in the face of such a horrific and deplorable act of violence. My heart goes out to the families, loved ones, and all of those whose lives are forever changed by this senseless, evil act.

“Our first priority remains the safety of our citizens, and we must do everything we can to stop the violence that has become all too familiar in our communities. That includes a coordinated response to the evolving threat of terrorism directed or inspired by extremist groups such as ISIL. It also includes common sense reforms when it comes to our nation’s gun laws. We can, and should, be acting in Congress to take specific and immediate actions to close gun loopholes that will make our families safer.

“As we seek answers and try to make sense of this tragedy, let us remember that our ability to overcome the hate that drove this attack rests in the strength of the American spirit to choose a higher path. In our most challenging moments as a nation, during our darkest days, courage has triumphed over fear. That is what has pushed our country forward. And it is the courage to remain true to who we are, and the values we cherish, that will bind us together as a nation and guide us through this tragic moment.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento): “My prayers are with the victims, families, and first responders affected by the tragic shooting in Orlando that took so many lives. I’m heartbroken that this occurred in a space created by the LGBT community to celebrate Pride Month. This terrible crime is an attack on our core value of equality for all.

“This is the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history, yet occurrences like this are far too common in our society. We must do a better job of keeping our communities safe with common-sense background checks, and I will continue to fight to prevent these mass casualties like this in Congress.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “Let us stand proudly as Americans, as defenders of our constitution, as defenders of freedom. Let us be inspired by the vision put forward by our nation’s founders and challenge those fermenting religious bigotry to do the same. Rather than pour fuel on the fire of darkness, divisiveness, and hatred, let us bring the light found in the aloha spirit — respect and love for everyone irrespective of religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation …

“Like many, I am angry, but we cannot be a part of the cycle of violence and bigotry that breeds these mass shootings and terror attacks. We must break the cycle and choose love. That is how we make a difference in the world around us.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Today’s hateful terror attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub–a mass shooting targeting our LGBTQ community during this year’s pride celebrations–is absolutely heartbreaking and profoundly cowardly. My condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, their friends and their loved ones today.

“I also wish to thank the law enforcement officials, first responders and all those who acted with bravery, courage and heroism in the face of the most deadly shooting in our nation’s history. They represent the America I fought to defend. As the president reminded the American people just moments ago, we must stand united as Americans, love one another and never turn against each other in the face of fear.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims, as well as with the entire LGBT community. While details continue to emerge, last night’s shooting is particularly insidious in that it occurred at a prominent gay night club when Americans across the country were gathering to celebrate LGBT Pride Month and the remarkable diversity of our nation.

“These tragedies are far too common and we cannot continue to sit idly by as these incidents continue to happen. Congress must review every available proposal to determine what we can do to reduce all forms of gun violence. Americans are understandably frustrated at our inability to come together to address this problem in a meaningful way. I will continue to fight for evidence-based policy proposals to address this issue. I just hope that the leadership in Congress will finally agree that enough is enough. Meaningful action is long overdue.”

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