Pink Pistols, a national pro-gun group arming the LGBT community, has seen its membership skyrocket after the Orlando shooting as more members of the gay and lesbian community take up arms in self-defense.
The LGBT gun group saw its association soar from 1,500 to 3,500 people as members like former soldier Karen McCloud saw an increased need to be prepared to defend themselves, reports the Telegraph.
“Bad people have guns, and the only people who can stop them are the good people with guns. And that’s exactly what went wrong the other night.”
The gun group, whose motto is “pick on someone your own caliber,” encourages members to gather in groups to protect gay centers, sponsors shootings courses and helps LGBT community members learn to shoot.
After the Orlando shooting that claimed the lives of 49 innocent people the LGBT gun club that boasts 45 chapters across 33 states saw their membership increase by 1,500 members in a few short days, spokesperson Gwendolyn Patton told NBC News.
“We’ve had the greatest response in three areas, our Facebook page, which has tripled in size, our chapters, we have so many requests for information on starting new chapters I’ve lost count, and the sheer number of people offering services such as training to our members.”
While the Orlando shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse has thrown the national spotlight on the issue, attacks against the LGBT community is nothing new; the FBI reported 999 hate crimes against gays and lesbians in 2014.
The group hopes arming the LGBT community will make them less of a target, Dave Kopel, an attorney and gun rights advocate, told the USA Today.
“People have to be their own first responders. Law enforcement tries to get there as fast as possible to intervene, but they can’t be there all the time and it’s good when people have the tools and abilities to stay alive until law enforcement shows up.”
That response is similar to the one Howard Stern gave last week when he compared most Americans to sheep who need guns to protect themselves from terrorists and criminals he called wolves.
More and more members of the LGBT community are starting to agree, which has fueled the Pink Pistols membership boost. Before the Orlando shooting, the gun group had started to fade away, and some of its chapters became inactive, but now more members of the LGBT community are arming themselves than ever before.
However, not everyone is pleased the gay and lesbian community has decided to take up arms to defend themselves. Some see more guns on the street as adding to the problem no matter whose hand they’re in.
President Barack Obama has long urged American lawmakers to close loopholes, tighten restrictions, and generally make it more difficult for people to buy guns. His presidency hasn’t seen a single day that wasn’t marred by gun violence of some kind.
Congress is set to weigh in on the issue this week. They’ve already defeated four gun control measures, but a compromise bill is in the works and could see a vote soon.
The compromise gun control bill would ban those on the government’s no-fly list from owning guns but allow those on similar watch lists to purchase firearms.
Whatever the outcome of that bill, the debate on gun control is sure to stay highly politicized, with gun advocates arguing they have a Second Amendment right to bear arms and gun control advocates saying firearms make society dangerous.
What do you think? Will you be buying a gun and learning to fire it in the wake of the Orlando shooting?
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