ORLANDO, Fla. — On June 12, 2016, the United States experienced one of the deadliest mass shootings in history. A man opened fire after walking into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. on Latin night with a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol.
Forty-nine people were killed or fatally wounded before the shooter was fatally shot by police early in the morning. Fifty-three more people were injured. Most of the victims were young and of Latin descent.
In the three years since the attack, Americans in general and the LGBTQ community in particular have responded in various ways, attempting to make the community safer, more accepted and more prepared in the event of other, similar attacks.
In a statement attributed to Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee called for “commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence.” The statement did not advocate for any particular policies, but a day after the anniversary of the shooting, congressional Democrats introduced two bills involving regulation of firearms. The first, the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act, would require that a potential gun owner obtain a license before purchasing a handgun. Only first-time purchasers would be required to obtain a license. The second bill would make it illegal to publish digital instructions for 3D printing a handgun.
A campaign called Honor Them With Action to remember the victims of the attack was launched in the aftermath of the tragedy. The campaign encourages people to take small steps to aid the LGBTQ community in gaining acceptance and to use the hashtag #HonorThemWithAction to share their stories and improve the lives of LGBTQ people and Latinx people. The national initiative asks the community to “honor the victims through service.”
DC Entertainment created and sold a graphic novel called “Love is Love” and donated the profit to the victims of the shooting and their families. The graphic novel became a New York Times best seller. The city of Orlando attempted to buy the nightclub in order to construct a memorial, but the owner, Barbara Poma refused to sell. Instead Poma created the onePULSE foundation and decided to build a private memorial, which is scheduled to open next year.