LGBT+ groups demand gun control in wake of Vegas mass murder

Gays Against Guns demonstrate to honor the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, Monday night in New York City. Courtesy photo.

“Our hearts are with Las Vegas and all those impacted by this horrific tragedy,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin in a statement released Monday. “After Newtown, our nation called for action. After Tucson, Virginia Tech, Aurora, San Bernardino, Charleston, and Alexandria, we called for action.

“After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub a little more than a year ago, we called for action. Yet, in the face of these mounting tragedies, many of our lawmakers have refused to act on meaningful gun safety legislation.”

LGBT+ groups across the country reacted to news of the mass shooting Sunday evening in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 and injured over 500 more. Less than a year and a half after the Pulse nightclub shooting that caused pain and mourning in LGBT+ communities across the country, we are regrettably sensitive to what people are feeling in the wake of such a disastrous event.

Gays Against Guns (GAG), a New York City based group formed after the Pulse shooting, organized a March and rally in NYC’s Union Square last night. Over 100 protesters turned out to honor the memory of the Las Vegas victims, and call, yet again, for stronger gun control.

Gays Against Guns honor the memory of Pulse shooting victims at NYC's 2017 Pride parade. Michael Noble, Jr, AP.

For more on Gays Against Guns’ campaign, visit Gays Against Guns brings direct action to the fight against gun violence.

In the last 477 days, beginning with the Pulse attack on June 12, 2016, there have been 521 mass shootings, according to the New York Times. A mass shooting involves four or more people injured or killed in a single event at the same time and location. Since Orlando, at least 585 people have been killed and 2,156 have been injured in mass shootings, according to information provided by the Times.

NBC News sought out Pulse survivors after the shooting in Las Vegas. “With their tragedy not even 16 months behind them, Pulse survivors and other members of the Orlando community affected by the shooting offered their condolences and sympathies to the Las Vegas survivors, as well as their immediate reactions to this latest mass shooting,” says the NBC report.

"’My first reaction was to cry,’ Patience Carter, a Pulse survivor whose femur was shattered during the shooting, told NBC News. ‘I cried because I actually believed that this world could change for the better, and that hope was shattered.’

“Brandon Wolf was also at Pulse on the night of the shooting. He said he woke up Sunday to multiple notifications on his phone about the Las Vegas shooting. When he realized what had happened, he felt a familiar fear come over him.

"’The word that jumped into my mind was, 'again.' It was eerily familiar,’ Wolf told NBC News. ‘For folks in the Pulse community, as well as others impacted by gun violence, this is the reality we live in. Every day, we wake from nightmares of gunshots. Only today, we couldn't wake up. I relived the same fear and heartache I felt 16 months ago’," the report continues.

For more on LGBT+ feelings after the Pulse attack, visit Building the resistance - #OrlandoStrong.

GAG members have staged “die-in” protests at a number of events across the country in an effort to demonstrate support for gun control laws, according to a HuffPost Queer Voices story Tuesday.

“Activist Terry Roethlein told HuffPost that he and other GAG members were empowered by the turnout at Monday’s rally, held one day after 59 people were killed and over 500 wounded when Stephen Paddock opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

“’It was great to see a few hundred folks come out last night for our impromptu action marking the latest disgusting act of gun carnage that happened in Las Vegas on Sunday,’ he said. ‘It’s quite obvious that many Americans are so disturbed by these domestic acts of terror, which happen again and again because our government refuses to take leadership to fight the ignorance, fear and greed that feed the gun violence epidemic’,” the HuffPost story says.

The HRC statement continues, “HRC backs common-sense gun violence prevention policy measures and policies aimed at addressing the epidemic of hate that has fueled anti-LGBTQ-motivated murder, assault, and discrimination. For decades, LGBTQ people have been a target for bias-motivated violence, and easy access to deadly weapons has compounded this threat.

“Common-sense gun violence prevention measures endorsed by HRC include banning access to assault-style rifles, expanding background checks, and limiting the ability for suspected terrorists and those with a history of domestic abuse to access guns.”

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, more than 33,000 gun deaths happen every year in the United States. What more will it take to get common sense laws controlling access to weapons of war?

Copyright The Gayly – October 3, 2017 @ 3:45 p.m. CDT.