Hours after an 18-year-old Texas high school student shot and killed 18 elementary school children and two adults, Warriors coach Steve Kerr delivered an impassioned plea against gun violence Tuesday.
Kerr met the media before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Mavericks in Dallas, about a six-hour drive from the site of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. As he also did before a game against the Sacramento Kings earlier this year, following a nearby shooting, Kerr took no basketball questions and advocated for more background checks.
On Tuesday, Kerr’s plea went beyond sadness and into frustration, as he became visibly emotional while making his statement. Minutes before Kerr spoke to the media, the death toll was tragically updated. Initially, 15 people, including 14 children, were reported killed. But those numbers jumped to 21 people, including 19 children.
“Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher,” Kerr said. “And in the last 10 days we’ve had elderly people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian church goers killed in Southern California. Now we have children murdered at school. When are we going to do something?!”
Kerr then slapped the table to make his point.
“I’m tired. I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there,” Kerr said. “I’m sorry. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.”
Specifically, Kerr called on American senators to vote on H.R. 8. Congress.gov provides a description of the bill, which was passed by the house on March 11, 2021 and is awaiting action from the senate:
This bill establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals). Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.
Unfortunately, Kerr knows first-hand about the effects of losing a loved one to gun violence. In 1984, his father Malcolm Kerr was killed by a Lebanese militia group while serving as the president of the American University in Beirut. Since becoming the Warriors’ coach in 2015, Kerr has become an outspoken advocate for gun control.
“I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings, and supermarket shootings – are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children?,” Kerr said. “And our elderly? And our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what we do every week.
“I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. We’re going to play the game tonight, but I want every person here, every person listening this to think about your own child or grandchild, mother, father, sister or brother – how would you feel if this happened to you today?
“We can’t get numb to this. We can’t sit here and just read about it. We can’t have a moment of silence and, ‘Go Dubs!’ or ‘Come on, Mavs! Let’s Go!’ That’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna go play a basketball game.”
Kerr made one more call to senators before leaving the podium.
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want,” Kerr said. “They won’t vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power. It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough.”
After the game, Warriors superstar Steph Curry commended Kerr for his statement and message.
"It’s kinda hard to stay focused on going out and playing basketball knowing what happened, in this state," Curry said. "I got kids, send ‘em to school everyday, drop ‘em off. You feel for the parents who are going through what they’re going through."
Warriors forward Damion Lee also shared his thoughts on the situation, saying, "It’s easier to get a gun than baby formula right now. That’s unbelievable."