LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement in the aftermath of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York that left 10 people dead:

“MALDEF joins the nation in mourning the lost potential, the lost community and family support, and the lost ideals that result from the horrific taking of 10 lives by yet another craven and feeble-minded white supremacist armed with too readily-available weaponry.  The Second Amendment most certainly does not protect the rights of the perpetrators of violent, racist acts like what occurred in Buffalo, or previously in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and too many other U.S. cities.

“MALDEF recognizes and calls out the complicity of those leaders who exploit demographic fear to reap ill-gotten political gains, who traffic in ‘replacement theory’ rhetoric at the cost of our nation’s ideals, who advocate studied ignorance in history and other curricula in implicit acceptance of past depredations, and who falsely scream ‘fraud’ whenever candidates supported by voters of color are democratically elected.

“In this election year, every voter should ask every candidate what he or she will do to prevent white nationalist violence.  Any candidate who refuses to answer or who dances the populist’s obfuscatory verbal jig, has no business governing our democracy.”