Just weeks after the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the local Orlando gay community reached out to NRA Certified Firearms Instructor Jo Martin in an effort to start their own Pink Pistols chapter.
Now, almost nine months later, the Central Florida chapter of Pink Pistols has noticed an increase in attendance at their monthly meetings. The Pulse tragedy, although recognized by the LGBTQ community as a terror incident, has also reaffirmed their vulnerability as it relates to hate crimes and the need for self defense. In fact, there was so much interest in the group that Martin is now starting a second organization she’s calling the Rainbow Shooting Club.
Martin said through a generous donation made by a Connecticut gun manufacturer, the firearms classes are now being provided to the LGBTQ community free of charge. The grant covers everything: the costs of the training materials, instruction, range time, rental firearms, even ammunition.
“The thought of me holding a gun is terrifying,” said Diana Georgey, who signed up for the classes. She told NBC affiliate WESH-TV. “It (the Pulse Shooting) affected me in a way that I felt like I can’t ever go anywhere and be safe.”
According to Martin, this was the sentiment of a majority of her LGBTQ students. However, she has noticed a change. The group now appears to be embracing not just firearms, but an overall support of the Second Amendment.
Martin, a Scottish immigrant to the United States and staunch Second Amendment advocate, said she never discussed politics in her classes before, but that’s changed. Many of her LGBTQ students have questions and they can’t be ignored. She said this community has so much misinformation, especially about conservatives and the Second Amendment.
“The media is negative and divisive and I’m just glad I can provide factual information that I hope can open up some minds,” said Martin. “It’s ok to have a difference of opinion, but conservatives are much more tolerant than the media gives us credit for; why is it we have to have a tragedy of this magnitude to bring people together? We need to make it clear that we cherish not only our rights, but each other too.”
Through the efforts of Jo Martin, her training crew, and their positive Second Amendment advocacy, the Central Florida Pink Pistols, a previously skeptical community now understands the importance of embracing and supporting their Second Amendment right to bear arms.