At The Shooting Range With Pro-Gun LGBT Group 'The Pink Pistols'

August 3rd, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

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While LGBT rights organizations have spoken out in favor of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Orlando shooting, there’s a contingent of LGBT Americans who have taken a starkly different stance on gun ownership.

Jeff Bloovman is a gay man, a gun owner and a gun instructor with The Pink Pistols, a pro-gun LGBT group that encourages queer people to defend themselves through gun education and ownership. “Armed queers don’t get bashed,” the group’s website reads.  

“I think it was harder for me, individually, to come out as gay than as a gun owner. You know, I like martial arts, I shoot guns and stuff, how could I be gay?” Bloovman told HuffPost’s Alex Berg, acknowledging a sentiment that being gay and pro-gun is somehow contradictory because queer people tend to fall on the liberal side of the political spectrum, which has historically favored stronger gun regulation. 

Tom Nelson, the head of The Pink Pistols Delaware Valley Chapter, calls it a “gay self-defense group.” He told The Huffington Post he grew up around guns, so he’s never been scared of them. People like Nelson and Bloovman, who are both queer and pro-gun, can find it tough to align with either of the major political parties due to their opinions on the hot-button issued. Since Democrats and Republicans tend to take opposing sides on the issues of gun control and LGBTQ equality, Nelson said he’s struggling with the issue this presidential election cycle.

“On one hand, the Democrats obviously are more LGBT supportive, but not at all gun-friendly…,” he said. “And on the other hand, you have the Republicans who [are] basically LGBT-antagonistic, if not hating, and yet more gun-friendly.”

Following the attack on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, during which 49 people were killed and 53 were injured, the Pink Pistols says its membership has increased dramatically. The deadly shooting is just one example of the violence that LGBT people, particularly gay and trans people of color, face day to day.

While some in the LGBT community have called out the problem with arming citizens to defend themselves in the event of a shooting ― especially because LGBT people, like Cece McDonald and Ky Peterson, don’t always reap the benefits of self-defense laws ― Bloovman urged those who feel uncomfortable around guns to be “open-minded and have a willingness to learn” about them.

“I don’t mind if people don’t like guns, but educate yourself about any issue that you’ve got strong feelings about,” Bloovman said.

This video was produced by Alex Berg and Gabe Piscione, edited by Melissa Pellicano, and shot by Ian MacInnes and Dan Fox.

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Source: Elder Care Huffington Post

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