Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. After opening fire on the crowd, an individual named Omar Mateen had taken hostages and was ultimately killed in a stand-off with police; Mateen had called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the massacre. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency, and the massacre is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The victims' names were released by the city of Orlando on its website as their next of kin were informed.
Here are some ways to help the Orlando shooting victims and their loved ones: you can also donate to the victims' fund, as well as express your solidarity with the LGBTQ community by posting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: Early Sunday morning, a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, left 50 dead and more than 50 injured, making the tragedy the worst mass shooting to ever take place on American soil. As the United States grapples with this staggering atrocity, pro-gun rights organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has not yet responded to the Orlando shooting, which is hugely frustrating considering the level of gun violence that occurred. Bustle has reached out to the NRA for comment, but has not heard back at this time.
After previous mass shootings, the NRA has generally gone silent for a few hours or even days before responding to the tragedies, and that might be the case with Orlando. The organization's responses tend to emphasize a need for more guns rather than less, and its comments generally reflect a group poised to go on the defensive whenever lives are lost to gun violence.
In November 2015, the NRA responded to the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting that left three people dead, including a police officer, by initially avoiding the issue entirely. Days after that shooting, however, the organization took to their Facebook page to boast about their strides in loosening gun control laws. Meanwhile, a guest on NRA News used the shooting as a means to support carrying concealed weapons. "I would have loved it if somebody who worked at Planned Parenthood, or one of the patients, or somebody who was waiting, had a concealed carry permit and was able to stop this guy before he killed three people and injured nine or ten others," NRA supporter Laura Carno said on the show, as reported by Media Matters. Host Cam Edwards appeared to agree with Carno's comments.
Shortly before Oregon's Umpqua Community College shooting, the NRA used its Twitter account to offer advice on how to get the clearest aim when shooting a gun. While the NRA obviously could not have predicted the shooting would take place, this tweet illustrated the group's troubling focus and its choice to ignore a huge act of gun violence. It offered no comment in the shooting's aftermath.
On the morning of July 20, 2012, hours after the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, the organization posted a cringeworthy tweet wishing "shooters" a "happy Friday" that they claimed was entirely coincidental.
The most troubling response that the NRA has ever given in response to a mass shooting, though, may very well be its response to the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, which left 26 victims dead, 20 of which were 6- and 7-year-old children. The NRA did wait a few days before issuing any statements, but when the group did speak out, it was to call for teachers to carry guns in schools. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre during a press conference, The Washington Post reported.
Rather than speak in favor of even a modicum of reform, the NRA's response to these national tragedies has been to call for more guns instead of less. Frustratingly, the group's alarming pattern of either silence in the wake of gun violence or advocacy for fewer gun laws does not appear to be poised to end anytime soon.