"Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground," President Biden said in a statement Saturday, making that official by announcing the Orlando site will become a national memorial. Five years ago to the day, a gunman opened fire in the gay club on Latin Night, killing 49 people and wounding 53. It was the deadliest attack on LGBTQ people in US history. "We must also acknowledge gun violence's particular impact on LGBTQ+ communities across our nation," Biden's statement said, Politico reports. "We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women—especially transgender women of color." He urged the Senate to quickly pass the Equality Act, legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The president also insisted that more be done to reduce gun violence, per the AP, in pressuring the Senate to pass pending legislation. He expressed support for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes that allow guy buyers to evade background checks, and ending liability immunity for gun manufacturers. Events were scheduled throughout the weekend in Orlando to honor the Pulse victims, per ClickOrlando. A remembrance ceremony was planned, and churches were to ring their bells 49 times. People there say their city has not yet healed, per CNN. "We're transforming [the city]—in a better way, a progressive way," one activist said. But he cautioned that "there's a lot of recovery that needs to happen. ... People are still suffering." (Read more Pulse Orlando shooting stories.)