Steve Kerr, the Beirut-born head coach of US basketball team the Golden State Warriors, has condemned the latest school shooting in the country and criticised senators for a “pathetic” lack of action to pass gun control laws.
At least 19 pupils and two adults were killed on Tuesday at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas. It is the deadliest school shooting in the US for nearly a decade.
Kerr's father was president of the American University of Beirut when he was murdered by gunmen from the Iran-backed group Islamic Jihad in 1984.
The group carried out the 1983 US embassy bombings that killed 63, as well as the US and French barracks bombings that killed 24 that year.
Speaking hours after the school shooting, Kerr gave an emotional news conference as his team prepared to play the Dallas Mavericks and said he did not want to talk about basketball.
“When are we gonna do something?” he said, punctuating his words by banging on the table.
“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.”
Kerr condemned the “50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR 8” because they want “to hold on to power". He mentioned Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, by name.
HR 8 is a bipartisan bill passed by the House of Representatives in March 2021 that would require background checks on all gun sales.
Legislation to tackle gun violence in the US has been repeatedly stymied in Congress, with lawmakers reluctant to act on bills requiring even modest restrictions and background checks.
The influential gun lobby says such measures are a restriction of the constitutional right of Americans to own firearms.
“All of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you, 'Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers?' Because that’s what it looks like," Kerr said.
Kerr is a prominent and vocal advocate for social justice issues.
Other National Basketball Association figures have spoken out after the shooting.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said on Twitter that “there simply has to be change".
Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also expressed anguish over the shooting that he said “could take place with any of your family at school".