After 49 people were killed an another 53 were injured by a terrorist at a gay nightclub in Orlando, gays and lesbians are taking their personal safety into their own hands.
One gun dealer in Colorado said business at his store on Tuesday was “booming,” according to a Denver Fox affiliate:
Gun shops typically see a spike in customers after mass shootings. But this time, many are seeing shoppers they’ve never really seen before: More gays and lesbians.
George Horne, the owner of The Gun Room, Denver’s oldest firearms dealer, said Tuesday business is booming at his store.
“For this time of year I’d say its three to four times what we normally have,” he said.
Background checks that once took minutes can now take hours. It’s a sales surge similar to what happened after Sandy Hook and the Aurora theater shootings.
“We’re not surprised by it,” Horne said.
The Pink Pistols, a gay-friendly shooting club that encourages LGBT people to protect themselves, had a surge of new members the day after the attack. On Sunday, the group had about 1,500 members nationwide, but by Monday the club had more than doubled and now boasts roughly 3,500 members.
“We teach queers to shoot. Then we teach others that we have done so,” the group’s website states:
Armed queers don’t get bashed. We change the public perception of the sexual minorities, such that those who have in the past perceived them as safe targets for violence and hateful acts — beatings, assaults, rapes, murders — will realize that that now, a segment of the sexual minority population is now armed and effective with those arms. Those arms are also concealed, so they do not know which ones are safe to attack, and which are not…which they can harm as they have in the past, and which may draw a weapon and fight back.
On Sunday, the Pink Pistols released a statement condemning gun control efforts being pushed by lawmakers and public figures in the wake of the attack:
The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse. This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this.
Dozens of new chapters have cropped up all across the country to accommodate all of the new members who want to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Mike Smith, a firearms instructor in Colorado Springs, said he has noticed an uptick in LGBT clients and is forming one of these new chapters, even though he himself is not gay.
“I look at it as a disenfranchised minority that needs someone who’s willing to say I’m a resource who’s here and willing to help,” he told a FOX 31 Denver.