At a press conference held on Tuesday prior to the NBA (National Basketball Association) game with the Dallas Mavericks, a visibly angry and emotional Golden State Warriors' coach, Steve Kerr, criticized the U.S. government for refusing to “do something” about gun violence. He also outlined the points he made following the shooting at Sacramento in April. “When are we going to do something!” exclaimed Kerr. “I'm tired, I'm so tired of getting up here and then offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there, and I'm so tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”
In the absence of any details about Tuesday's shooting or whether the shooter possessed his gun legally or illegally, Kerr called on U.S. senators to support the HR8 bill to allow universal background checks for all citizens. According to Kerr, the senators won't vote on the bill purely because of selfish motives. “There are 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the house passed a couple of years ago. It has been sitting there for two years, and there was a reason why they won't vote on it. To hold on to the power.”
He continued, “So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you: are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers, because that's what it looks like.”
Kerr almost repeated the statements he made in the aftermath of the Sacramento shootings in April, which, as Awr Hawkins pointed out, took place even though California had already passed the exact laws that Kerr is recommending.
Background checks through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) have been in place across all states since the late 1990s. Additionally, California adopted universal background checks in the early 1990s, and each gun purchase in the private or state-retail market must pass a background check to be legal. The screenings Kerr is promoting already exist in California.
In his passionate address on Tuesday, Kerr confessed to being “fed up” with the situation and urged people to end their silence. “We can't get numb to this,” he declared. “We can't sit here and just read about it and go, ‘well, let's have a moment of silence'… 50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks? 90 percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to vote despite what we the American people want.”
He said before he walked away, “They won't vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It's pathetic. I've had enough.”