Orlando massacre sparks gun-control bill

Updated: 2016-06-14 11:37

By AMY HE in New York(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Orlando massacre sparks gun-control bill

People gather as police conduct questioning near Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

With the US reeling in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, a US senator introduced legislation that would bar people convicted of hate crimes from owning or buying firearms.

Bob Casey Jr, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said at a press conference on Monday that law enforcement needs to focus on the connection between violence and hate crimes.

Gunman Omar Mateen, 29, had reportedly once expressed anger over seeing two men kissing. Authorities said on Monday that they had identified all but one of those shot and killed at the Pulse nightclub by Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police. Many victims remain hospitalized in critical condition.

Mateen used an assault rifle and handgun that he had recently purchased legally. He professed allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) in a 911 call he made during the attack, law enforcement officials said.

ISIS claimed responsibility on Monday for the slayings in an official broadcast on the group's Albayan Radio. "One of the caliphate's soldiers in America carried out a security invasion where he was able to enter a crusader gathering at a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida ... where he killed and injured more than a hundred of them before he was killed," the group said in its broadcast, according to Reuters.

Casey described the deadly shooting as "an act of terror" and "an attack on the LGBT community".

"In Orlando, he was targeting people based on who they were and who they loved, and that has to be a focus of our work as well," Casey said. "If you have proven you will commit criminal acts based on hate, you absolutely should not have access to a gun," he said. "It's common sense."

Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences for the worst mass shooting in American history.

President Xi Jinping called President Barack Obama on Monday to express sympathy on behalf of the Chinese government and Chinese people, according to Xinhua.

Premier Li Keqiang said in a press conference after his talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that China "opposes terrorist action in all forms".

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