March For Our Lives condemns Atlanta shootings: 'The motive is clear'

March For Our Lives condemns Atlanta shootings: 'The motive is clear'
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The student-led anti-gun violence activist group March For Our Lives released a statement on Wednesday condemning the shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, saying the killer's "motive is clear," though law enforcement has not officially assigned one.

“Hatred and violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander siblings across the country is unacceptable,” March For Our Lives said. “We need to speak honestly about why this uptick in violence is happening — the hateful rhetoric being pushed by some politicians and news media in our country is emboldening white supremacists to act on their racism and xenophobia. These disgusting incidents are worsened when there is access to a deadly firearm.”

"What transpired in Atlanta last night is truly heartbreaking. Eight lives stolen. Eight families that are left shattered. While we are still learning more about the details of these murders, the motive is clear," the group said.

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Suspected shooter Robert Aaron Long, 21, reportedly told police that he had carried out the shooting. According to authorities, Long, who is white, claimed that the attack on massage parlors was not racially motivated and instead had to do with his “sexual addiction.”

“We must stand in solidarity with the Asian-American community and fully commit to ending gun violence caused by armed white supremacy,” March For Our Lives continued. “In the days ahead, we look forward to hearing about and celebrating the lives those victims led, the lives they impacted, and the cherished memories of their loved ones.”

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The group was started in 2018 by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Among the group's policy demand are universal background checks on gun purchases, closing the "boyfriend loophole" that allows partners who have been convicted of domestic abuse to still purchase firearms if they were not married to their victim and declaring gun violence a public health emergency.

Vice President Harris, who is the first Asian American to hold the role, expressed solidarity with the Asian American community in response to the shooting on Wednesday.

"Knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate," Harris said during a virtual meeting with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin.