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Florida LGBTQ Community Joins Call to End Gun Violence

Florida's LGBTQ community is joining the fight for gun reform. (J. Lindsay/Pride Fund)
Florida's LGBTQ community is joining the fight for gun reform. (J. Lindsay/Pride Fund)
August 26, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - There's a new front in the fight for gun-law reform in Florida, as members of the state's LGBTQ community are mobilizing behind the cause.

Jason Lindsay is the executive director of the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, and he said while many LGBTQ Floridians had experienced discrimination and/or been the target of violence in the past, the shooting rampage at the Pulse nightclub in June in Orlando was very different.

"I've heard some people in the gay community say that the Pulse attack was like the 'Gay 9/11,' that it was the pivotal event that really shook the community from top to bottom," he said. "This was a very personal attack that really got the entire community rallying around something."

Lindsay, a 14-year veteran of the Army Reserve who served in Iraq, said the group's goal is not to dismantle the Second Amendment, but rather to close some loopholes by expanding background checks, restricting access to assault weapons, and prohibiting suspected terrorists from purchasing guns.

The attack at the popular LGBT club by gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.

Lindsay said the response to his group, from both inside and outside the gay community, has been very positive, and he believes the community has a lot of grassroots muscle.

"I think coming off the historic wins of marriage equality and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, our community just has a battle-tested infrastructure that is really ready to create change," he added.

After the shooting, the U.S. House failed to consider pending gun reform measures, which led to a more than 26-hour sit-in by House Democrats.

A coalition of groups also called on the Florida Legislature to convene a special session to address gun reform in the wake of the massacre, but that did not happen.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL