Washington — President Joe Biden on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of a mass shooting in a gay night-club in Florida, taking the rare step ofsaying he would designate the club as a national memorial.
“In the coming days, I will sign a billdesignating Pulse Nightclub as a na-tional memorial, enshrining in law whathas been true since that terrible dayfive years ago: Pulse Nightclub is hal-lowed ground,” the US president said ina statement released as he continued a European tour.
On June 12, 2016, a gunman openedfire inside the Orlando club, killing49 people, many of them Latinos, and wounding more than 50 others in whatwas then the deadliest mass shooting inmodern US history.
The shooter, 29-year-old Omar Ma-teen, held police at bay for hours until they stormed the building and killed him.
In Florida, Governor Ron De Santiscalled the shooting “one of the darkestdays in our state’s history” and declaredJune 12 Pulse Remembrance Day.
Biden’s declaration came a day af-ter two of his senior advisors held avirtual meeting with gay and lesbianleaders to mark the Pulse anniversaryand promise action on gay rights and gun violence.