Gays Against Guns Uses Pulse Anniversary to Push Gun Control

AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando was a particularly awful incident. It held the dubious record of the worst mass shooting in modern history right up until it was eclipsed by Las Vegas. The fact that it was motivated by a combination of Islamic extremism and homophobia made it particularly vile, marking it as the worst anti-gay attack in US history.


As Wednesday marked the eight-year anniversary, we had to know someone was going to use this opportunity to push for gun control. They always do.

And, as if on cue, someone did.

The local community is remembering the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed dozens of people in Orlando, Florida, on the eight-year mark of the tragedy.


“This year especially, it’s important to remember that hate kills,” said Gays Against Guns President Jay W. Walker. “The kind of bigotry that a lot of these people out there are espousing leads to violence against LGBTQ people, and that’s what happened at Pulse.”

The somber vigil culminated in a silent procession at Christopher Street Pier just steps away from the historic site of the Stonewall Inn riots. Organizers paid tribute to the victims of the horrific act of violence in Orlando that killed 49 people and injured 53 others in 2016. Virginia Vitzthum is a member of Gays Against Guns, which formed days after the mass shooting out of grief and outrage.

“We saw an intersection of attacks on gay people and gun violence,” Vitzthum said. “That queer people are killed more by a gun than other people, and it made sense for gay people to be a voice in the gun violence protection fight.”


That last point is a common talking point, though there are questions about where that information comes from. At least one survey found gay people were more likely to be victimized as a whole, but there was no mention of gun violence specifically.

Yet, for the sake of argument, let's assume that's true. After all, if the LGBT community believes it enough, it would be hard to convince them otherwise, so let's run with it.

We know that criminals have a tendency to get guns no matter what. We know that the Pulse shooting is an anomaly when it comes to violence, as most mass shootings tend to be. More pedestrian crimes are far more common, even if they're ultimately hate crimes.

If that's all true, then why would you want to be disarmed? Why aren't you carrying guns yourself?

Gays Against Guns formed in the days after the Pulse shooting, but so did Operation Blazing Sword, which connects LGBT individuals with people who are willing to help them arm themselves. Gays Against Guns doesn't speak for the entire LGBT community because a lot of those folks actually recognize that the only thing that stops a violent, hateful person is someone with the means to defend themselves.


That seems like a much saner approach to the problem of hate. It's the approach of groups like the Pink Pistols, for example.

See, hate itself doesn't kill. Hate can motivate people to kill, which means you have two choices. You can be a victim or you can be the one left standing. Regardless of other factors, I'd much rather than hateful, violent person be laying in a pool of blood than someone who was simply going about their life and were targeted because of some characteristic.

Gun control, however, won't stop the hateful. In fact, it may empower them because then they'll know that their prey can't fight back.

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