We, along with dozens of Latino leaders, demand leadership from both political parties, call on them to stand with all people in our country and proudly acknowledge that the diversity of our country has been our greatest strength. Our leaders must have the courage to stand tall against this hate, not just in words, but also in actions that protect their fellow Americans.

We cannot excuse the vile behavior of Saturday’s shooter or gloss over the actions of others who have committed similar atrocities as just a sickness or mental health issue. This is hate and white nationalism, plain and simple, and it is fueled by irresponsible rhetoric. Unabashedly saying that Muslims should not be allowed in this country, warning people of invasions from Hispanics and immigrants (as cited in the suspect’s manifesto), encouraging chants of “send them back” and calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people” are all examples of rhetoric that inspires hate and violence. We see the consequences in the stories of the victims and their families who mourn them, in the tears of those caring for the wounded.

A toxic combination of guns and hate is the problem. Keeping guns out of the hands of those who would perpetrate violence is an important part of the answer, and the Senate must immediately act to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, update our laws and insist on regulations that meet the challenges of 21st-century America.