Gun control is more than just another talking point for Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. It’s a deeply emotional topic, with his stance tied to his own personal tragedy.
In 1984, his father Malcom Kerr was killed by assassins at the American University of Beirut. Kerr was only 18 years old at the time, playing basketball for the University of Arizona on the other side of the world.
That’s why in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting massacre that killed more than 50 people and injured over 500, Kerr has once again reiterated his stance for tougher gun control laws.
Speaking with The Athletic Tuesday night in China, Kerr expressed his want for lawmakers to take more action:
“I was watching CNN this morning while working out in the hotel and some of the victim’s families were speaking, getting interviewed, crying. I’ve been there. I know exactly how they feel, having lost my dad to gun violence. You can’t explain the pain that this brings.
“I hope we can do more than just offer victims our thoughts and prayers. We’ve been offering victims thoughts and prayers for three decades. We need to offer them something else. And I know a lot of people have been saying don’t politicize this, don’t disrespect the victims by calling for gun control.
“But I’d argue that if we’d had any respect for the victims, we would have done something 20 years ago, 30 years ago, when Columbine happened or Sandy Hook or Aurora. Name any one of these mass shootings that happens pretty much every week in our country. If we had any respect for our citizens we would’ve had discussions before. So, for people to say don’t have that discussion now, now is not the time. When the hell is the time? That’s what I want to know.”
Kerr went onto say that his expectation is that “nothing will happen” in terms of any direct policy change because of the current lawmakers.
Kerr also said he believes in the Second Amendment, that people should be able to “own a handgun or a hunting rifle,” but “mentally ill people shouldn’t be able to buy guns,” there should be more “serious training for people buying guns” and there should be universal background checks.
“At some point, as a country, we have to be so disgusted and so vocal that our concerns can override the lack of concern, lack of compassion that exists in Congress,” Kerr said. “But when 20 5-year-olds can get mowed down in an elementary school and a couple months later Congress votes down the simplest of background check measures, it offers very little hope that they will actually show any concern for the citizens of our country.”
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who lived in Las Vegas for nine years, told Cleveland.com that 15 of his friends had attended the concert, three were shot, but all are still alive.
“I feel sorry for all the loved ones of each one that lost someone or been badly hurt,” Lue said. “It’s just not a good thing. I knew you guys would probably bring it up. I’ve been touched by a few people who’d gotten injured, who’d gotten shot. Just a tough position to be in.”
Multiple NBA teams held a moment of silence Monday night for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting in addition to those affected by the natural disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.