ATLANTA - Many lawmakers released statements following the deadliest mass shooting in American history on Sunday.
President Barack Obama decried the incident as an "act of terror" targeting a place of "solidarity and empowerment" for gays and lesbians. He urged Americans to decide "if that's the kind of country we want to be."
Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump tweeted the following:
"What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough"
Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton posted the following to Facebook:
“I join Americans in praying for the victims of the attack in Orlando, their families and the first responders who did everything they could to save lives.
“This was an act of terror. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are hard at work, and we will learn more in the hours and days ahead. For now, we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad. That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home. It also means refusing to be intimidated and staying true to our values.
“This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.
“Finally, we need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.
“This is a time to stand together and resolve to do everything we can to defend our communities and country.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) released the following statement:
“All Americans are horrified, disgusted and saddened by the horrific atrocity in Orlando.
“At this point we do not know whether this was an act of terrorism, a terrible hate crime against gay people or the act of a very sick person, but we extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones and our thoughts are with the injured and the entire Orlando LGBTQ community.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted the following:
“Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) released the following statement:
“Dianne and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those so tragically murdered this morning in Orlando, Fla.
“Acts of terrorism such as this should only strengthen our resolve as Americans to protect our freedoms and the ideals that make our country great. Radical terrorism is a threat to those ideals. We should pursue those responsible and those who support them with the full force and power of our country wherever the pursuit takes us.
“The people of Orlando, from the first responders to neighbors that woke up to this horrific news, continue stepping forward to help each other – whether it is directly as in the case of first responders, or by giving blood and raising up prayers. I thank each of them as we pray for our nation.”
U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) released the following statement:
“My heart breaks for those injured and killed this morning in this horrific act of terror. Bonnie and I join our fellow Georgians in lifting up the victims and their families during this devastating time. We also offer our support to the brave law enforcement officials and the state of Florida as they work to aid the victims and investigate this reprehensible act of mass violence.”
State Representatives Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) issued the following joint statement Monday:
"Make no mistake, the LGBTQ community is under attack, even within the ‘safe places’,” said Rep. Cannon. “I am devastated to report that I am close to someone who has been affected by this extreme outbreak of gun violence in Orlando, Florida. Please lift prayers for the families, friends, and communities of those who escaped, endured a terrifying hostage situation, or were unable to avoid this horrific act of mass violence.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of many innocent lives in Orlando, Florida,” said Rep. Drenner. “There are also many steps we can take to lessen the chance of these types of mass shootings from occurring in Georgia, including exploring legislation to prevent individuals who have been listed at some point on an FBI watch list as potential threats to our safety from procuring such weapons.
“The tragedy that took place in Orlando was in fact a political statement, and the notion that we should not politicize the Orlando massacre is naïve,” said Rep. Waites. “The reality is that the United States reported 32,000 gun deaths last year, and there is a reason why countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Australia and Canada combined have a lower gun violence rate. The 50 Americans who were viciously assassinated deserve our commitment to calling for gun reform, hate crimes legislation and LGBT equality.”
Fulton County Chairman John H. Eaves released the following statement:
"On behalf of the people of Fulton County, our hearts are with the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, as well as their families and first-responders. As a native of Florida, I am personally shocked and saddened by this act of hate and cowardice. We send our prayers for peace and healing.
“Unfortunately, this incident underscores continued hatred facing our LGBT community. We must be ever vigilant in our efforts to keep our community safe."
Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan (District 6) released the following statement:
"I am completely heartbroken over the senseless and tragic attack on our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community in Orlando this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those affected by this horrific incident.
“I know that the LGBT community, our family and friends will come together to comfort and support each other as we absorb this devastating news. May we all come through it stronger and more united than before."
Statement from Fulton County Commissioner Joan P. Garner on Pulse Shooting
“I am both stunned and heartbroken by yesterday’s massacre in Orlando. Clearly the fight for acceptance and equality continues. A year ago this month, the LGBT community and the American people celebrated a major victory after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Today we are in mourning after one of the worst incidences of terror and hate in our nation’s history.”