Late Sunday night (Oct. 1), lone gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on a crowd of over 22,000 Route 91 Harvest country music festival concertgoers from his 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of current reports on Oct. 2, 58 people have been killed and over 500 people are injured. While social media users and celebrities sent their condolences and pleas for “thoughts and prayers,” thousands of people on Twitter came together demanding action, saying the time for discussing and enacting immediate gun control protections is now.
Now, Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi has also joined the ranks, urging House Majority Leader Speaker Paul Ryan to create a “Select Committee on Gun Violence” immediately and “pass the bipartisan King-Thompson legislation to strengthen the life-saving background checks that keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
“Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic,” Pelosi said in her letter. “Charged with the solemn duty to protect and defend the American people, we must respond to these tragedies with courage, unity and decisive action.”
Addressing the mostly-conservative criticism that the day after a mass gun-related tragedy should be reserved for mourning and prayer, Pelosi stated: “Today is a day for prayer, mourning and love, but it must also be a day for action. As Members of Congress, our words of comfort to the families of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre will ring hollow unless we take long overdue action to ensure that no other family is forced to endure such an unimaginable tragedy.”
Read the full letter to Speaker Ryan here.