As the Senate debates several gun control measures in reaction to the Orlando mass shooting, Hillary Clinton called for lasting changes in comments to The Advocate and said "prayers alone aren't enough."
"This is an urgent problem, and it demands action," said Clinton, in comments today to The Advocate.
Though her opponent Donald Trump has focused on stopping Muslims from coming to this country, she concentrated suggestions for immediate change on gun control.
"For starters, we need to take on the epidemic of gun violence in America," she said. "I believe we are more than capable of protecting Second Amendment rights and making sure guns don't fall into the wrong hands. Weapons of war have no place on our streets."
Clinton has already voiced support for reinstating the assault weapons ban, which would face long odds in Congress. And she has backed the universal background checks being considered in the Senate today, as well as the ideas underlying the "No Fly, No Buy" law, which gives the FBI a chance to intervene if anyone on its terrorist watch list tries to purchase a gun. Omar Mateen used an assault weapon in his attack, and he bought it despite having once been under surveillance by the FBI for suspected terrorism ties.
But in her comments to The Advocate, Clinton also outlined ways specific to curbing attacks against LGBT people.
"We should also strengthen and expand the collection of data around gender identity, sexual orientation, and hate crimes in order to address this issue in a smart, effective way," she said. "And we all need to call out discrimination and hateful rhetoric whenever and wherever it occurs."
Activists have long worried that crimes committed against transgender people, for example, get lost in counting because the victims are misgendered. Some gay, lesbian or bisexual victims don't want to come out and their cases aren't classified as hate crimes. The list of reasons the number of hate crimes isn't properly counted is long.
Even so, the latest numbers from the FBI show LGBT people are the most likely minority population to be targeted with a hate crime. LGBT people surpassed Jewish-Americans as the top target in the most recent report from 2014, and LGBT-Americans are now twice as likely to be attacked as African-Americans.
The Democratic nominee for president described the motives of Omar Mateen similarly to President Obama, saying "It was an act of terror, and it was also an act of hate."
"What happened in Orlando is horrific and heartbreaking," she said. "It was an act of terror, and it was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month -- what should have been a safe space for people to be themselves, during a time when all Americans should be celebrating how far we've come.
"My prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders. But prayers alone aren't enough. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are still targeted for harassment, violence, and hate. This is an urgent problem, and it demands action."