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News > World

After Orlando, Under Siege LGBT Folk Buy Guns in Record Numbers

  • A rally for Pink Pistols during the 2015 Gay Pride parade in San Francisco.

    A rally for Pink Pistols during the 2015 Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. | Photo: Facebook / Pink Pistols

Published 23 June 2016
Opinion

One LGBT gun club has acquired thousands of new members amid reports that gun shops are witnessing a surge in LGBT customers.

Pink Pistols, a group that calls on members of the LGBT community in the United States to arm themselves, has seen its membership triple since the Orlando shooting at a gay club, while reports show a surge in weapons sales to LGBT members across the country.

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A senior Pink Pistols member said that if patrons had been armed at the Orlando nightclub they might have prevented the shooting or minimized loss of life.

“I think there is a possibility that it could have prevented it… or helped to make the death toll less. If we could have sent one more person home to their family alive instead of in a body bag that would have been something,” Gwen Patton, a spokeswoman for the Pink Pistols, told The Guardian Thursday.

Last week the group announced that its membership tripled just five days after Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 in an attack on Pulse in Orlando in the early hours of 12 June.

The Pink Pistols, a gun club for LGBT members and their supporters, promotes “legal, safe and responsible use of firearms for self defense of the sexual minority community,” according to its website.

Meanwhile, several gun shops have told media outlets that they have seen a surge in gun and weapons sales among members of the LGBT community following the mass shooting.

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Such a surge is always a trend after mass shootings. However, LGBT members seeking firearms is believed to be a new trend and has not been seen before, according to gun sellers.

"It's sad that we must consider such things," wrote Patton on her website following the attacks, "but when there are persons out there who mean us harm, we must find ways to protect ourselves within the law."

The group was founded in 2000 and seeks to attract individuals who are interested in gun ownership but are uncomfortable with the conservative and mostly reactionary attitude of the National Rifle Association and its members.

The Pink Pistol’s Facebook page had tripled from 1,500 members before the Orlando massacre to more than 7,100 by Thursday afternoon. However, with no formal registration system or fees for joining the Pink Pistols, there were no reliable membership numbers available for the group itself, Patton said.

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