State Watch

Miami Heat call on fans to press senators for gun laws

Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) and forward Jimmy Butler (22) celebrate during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Miami Heat encouraged fans to call their senators and “make change at the ballot box” for gun reform in an announcement before the NBA team’s playoff game against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.

“The Heat organization, the Boston Celtics and the NBA family also mourn those who lost their lives in the senseless shooting that took place yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas,” the announcer said in Miami after 19 elementary school children and two teachers were gunned down in Texas earlier this week.

“Our hope is that the families, friends, coworkers and loved ones of all those impacted by this tragedy will find the comfort and strength they need, as they carry on in honor of those whose lives were lost,” the announcer added ahead of a moment of silence. 

But the team strayed from the norm as a call to action followed the moment of silence. 

“The Heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws,” the announcer said to the roaring cheers of fans. “You can also make change at the ballot box. Visit heat.com/vote to register and let your voice be heard this fall.” 

The move comes after Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr criticized the U.S. Senate’s inaction on a bill that would close loopholes related to background checks in gun sales. 

“When are we gonna do something?” Kerr said in an impassioned speech ahead of his team’s game on Tuesday. “I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. … I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”

Currently, federal law does not require that unlicensed gun sellers operating online or at gun shows conduct background checks prior to the purchase of arms. 

H.R. 8, a bill that passed the House in March 2021, would require a background check for all gun sales, has been stalled in the Senate for over a year.

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