The gun control debate is now sending liberals’ head in a tail-spin. They could now be considered bigots for wanting to disarm gay Americans.
Dylan West says the Pink Pistols gun club in Atlanta has been a stagnant group since he joined a year ago. But that’s all changed now.
The gun club for LGBT people has roughly doubled in size to 230 members following this month’s nightmarish shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 dead and 53 injured.
“There’s always been a necessity for self-defense in the LGBT community,” said West, who grew up in Alabama surrounded by guns.
Pink Pistols has 35 active chapters across the U.S., and nationally, its Facebook membership has increased from 1,500 before the shooting to about 6,500 as of Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Patton said. That hike has encouraged some and worried others.
Patton said several of the chapters have become active since last week. The organization helps its members “select a firearm, acquire a permit, and receive proper training in its safe and legal use for self-defense,” according to its website. Omar Mateen, the killer in the Orlando attacks, did not belong to the Pink Pistols.
West, who is gay, said that while the Orlando nightclub shooting has thrown the issue into the national spotlight, attacks against the LGBT community “are nothing new.” The FBI reported 999 hate crimes committed against LGBT people in the United States in 2014, the most recent available data.