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NBA coach Steve Kerr calls out 50 senators on a bipartisan gun background check law

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 24: Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at American Airlines Center on May 24, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 24: Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at American Airlines Center on May 24, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made it clear he did not want to talk about basketball before Tuesday night's playoff game, instead devoting a news conference to discuss the violence at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — and to condemn politicians' inaction on a fundamental gun law.

"Any basketball questions don't matter," Kerr said. But his remarks on guns drew wide interest, as the U.S. absorbed the news that yet another mass shooting had robbed young schoolchildren of their lives and futures.

"When are we gonna do something?!" Kerr shouted, after running through the list of recent gun violence in the U.S., including the Tops grocery shooting in Buffalo and a church shooting in Southern California.

"I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there," said Kerr, who grew visibly emotional as he discussed the tragedies inflicted upon innocent people. "I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough."

Kerr accused a group of senators of defying the will of the American people by not acting on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act that the House approved more than a year ago.

Kerr, whose father was killed by gunmen in Lebanon in 1984, said that 90% of the U.S. public currently support requiring universal background checks — a claim that has previously been verified by fact-checkers.

"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," the coach said. "They won't vote on it, because they want to hold on to their own power."

"It's pathetic," Kerr said, as he stood up to end the news conference. "I've had enough."

Those amplifying Kerr's message included Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson, who said Kerry "best expressed the outrage of the nation."

The Senate received H.R. 8 in March of 2021. There were no further updates to its status until Tuesday, when it received its first reading, according to Congress' legislation tracker.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.