June 12 is the sixth anniversary of the second deadliest shooting in the US, and Republicans are still refusing to take action against gun violence.
For six years, survivors and victims’ families of the Pulse nightclub shooting have waited for the government to tackle gun violence.
On June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people, 23 of them Puerto Ricans, and wounded 53 more in the popular Orlando nightclub on Latin Night.
The shooting became the second deadliest mass shooting in US history.
And without a tangible solution to the gun violence epidemic in the US, survivors and families of victims are reliving the pain and sorrow of that July 12 night with every new shooting.
Nancy Rosado, a Puerto Rican New York Police Department retiree who was on the scene the night of the tragedy to help survivors, said that we tend to forget that survivors deal with the trauma from these tragedies for the rest of their lives.
“The number of victims behind these incidents is much larger than what we will traditionally say is a victim. We think of the injured, we think of the dead, but we forget about their parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, their family members, and what it’s like to live a life like that,” Rosado told Floricua.
Even though survivors are still dealing with PTSD or survivor’s guilt, not much has changed in terms of laws and services to help them heal and guarantee a safer country.
In 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed additional mental health funding for Pulse survivors, even though experts and advocates claimed they still need them.
In terms of gun reform, only eight days after the shooting, the US Senate didn’t vote to pass four bills or amendments that would have blocked people on the federal terrorism watch list from buying guns and closed loopholes in background check laws.
Six years later, Republicans in Florida, beginning with DeSantis, are still reluctant to reform Florida’s gun laws.
DeSantis often cites the Second Amendment to justify voting against gun reform legislation, even though many experts on firearms and the Constitution say the amendment’s interpretation is often misplaced.
Rosado, who also witnessed the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people, says nothing justifies a citizen having a military-style weapon.
“That you allow people to purchase weapons that are for mass destruction, that are not limited in the numbers of rounds, in their capacity to create damage… When I heard what happened in Pulse, all I could think was, ‘Where he did get the weapon?’” the former police officer said.
Rosado will never forget how heartbroken she was knowing that, in the blink of an eye, that night of partying and happiness turned into tragedy and ended or transformed the lives of those who were in the club.
“I get a little emotional because of the number of lives lost that could’ve been something else. You think about what these lives could’ve done. Think about 49 people, and what impact they could have on the world. And it was [taken] from them because someone had this crazy access to buy more than one gun and felt free to do this,” Rosado said.
RELATED: Una Dura Realidad: Gun Violence Disproportionally Affects Black and Latino Communities. Here’s What Needs to Be Done.
Last Wednesday, the US House passed 223-204 a package of eight bills relating to gun reform, which includes preventing gun trafficking, requiring all firearms to be traceable, and closing the loophole on bump stocks, which are devices that increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons, among other things.
The package of measures is unlikely to advance to a final vote in the Senate. Democrats need 10 votes from Republicans.
On June 12, the onePULSE Foundation will host the Six-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony at the Pulse Interim Memorial, at 7 p.m. The ceremony can also be viewed live on the onePULSE Foundation Facebook page.