Lawmakers quickly condemned Saturday the racism that motivated a gunman to open fire in a Buffalo grocery store, and some once again renewed calls for stricter gun control measures.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said he had spoken with the Buffalo mayor and offered assistance, while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., pledged that she would continue to fight for gun safety legislation and to “defeat the scourge of white supremacy.”
“I ache for the victims and their families,” Schumer said in a statement. “I ache for Buffalo. I ache for the tight-knit East Side community. Racism has no place in our state or our country.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lamented that “another community was shattered by the horrors of gun violence.”
“We must never stop fighting to stop the bloodshed — because enough is enough,” she said.
Antonio Delgado, a Democrat from New York who is set to become the state’s next lieutenant governor, condemned the racist attack and called for stepped up action against hate crimes.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., said in a statement he was “horrified by the mass shooting,” and in touch with local leaders. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., a candidate for governor, lamented that “a simple Saturday afternoon at the local supermarket should never end like this.”
“The devastating news of today’s tragedy at Tops in Buffalo has New Yorkers in a state of shock and heartbreak thinking about the families and community victimized by this senseless violence,” Zeldin said. “Raw, violent hate in every form must be driven out of our state however possible.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that President Joe Biden had been briefed by his homeland security adviser while spending the weekend at his family home in Delaware.
“He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops,” she said. “The president and the first lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones.”
Other lawmakers raised the prospect of imposing stricter limitations on who can purchase a gun, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who called the shooting “a reminder of why we don’t play around with white nationalism.”
“You have to be 21 to buy a pistol in this country,” Kinzinger wrote on Twitter. “Can we all at least agree we should raise the age to 21 for ARs as well? Shouldn’t everyone have a background check? I think so. These are 90% issues, do it now and keep debating the rest.”
That legislation, however, has failed to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold needed to pass most legislation in the Senate because of Republican opposition. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a champion of gun reform, called on his “do-nothing colleagues” to take action.
“Your ‘thoughts’ should be about what you are going to do to end this slaughter,” Murphy wrote. “Your ‘prayers’ should be for your own salvation — if you choose to sit on your hands — again — and let people die.”