Kerr: Victims of gun violence need change, not just 'thoughts and prayers'

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The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas - the deadliest by a lone gunman in U.S. history - hit home with Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, as his father was murdered by a pair of gunmen outside his Beirut office over 30 years ago.

"I was watching CNN this morning while working out in the hotel and some of the victims' families were speaking, getting interviewed, crying. I've been there," Kerr told The Athletic's Anthony Slater. "I know exactly how they feel, having lost my dad to gun violence. You can't explain the pain that this brings.

"So 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."

Unfortunately, Kerr has little faith that anything will be done to facilitate change. If that were true, shootings like the one in Las Vegas may have been prevented, as more stringent laws would have been put in place a long time ago.

"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," Kerr added. "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.

The Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution protects the rights for citizens to bear arms. Kerr has no issue with Americans possessing firearms, but wishes steps toward purchasing them would be more thorough.

"I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe people should be able to protect themselves, should be able to own a handgun or a hunting rifle," he said. "But I also believe that mentally ill people shouldn't be able to buy guns. I believe there should be serious training for anybody buying a gun. I believe there should be universal background checks. It should be a process, so we can keep people safe."