Both the Orlando nightclub massacre in June and the Nov. 8 presidential election have sparked a nationwide increase in interest for a LGBT gun rights group, the Pink Pistols confirmed Thursday.
Because the organization doesn’t collect membership dues or forms, it’s difficult to specifically nail down an exact tally of just how many people belong to the Pink Pistols, a spokeswoman for the group said Thursday. But since both the Pulse nightclub shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people and the election of Donald Trump, interest in the Pink Pistols has spiked on social media as well as in chapter growth.
Pink Pistols First Speaker Gwendolyn Patton told TheBlaze Thursday that some in the the LGBT community are concerned that a Trump administration will be unfriendly toward them.
“I personally don’t believe he’s given any indication that he’s unfriendly” to the community, Patton said. In fact, Trump has indicated that he “wants to defend us from people who wants to throw us off buildings or hang us from cranes,” she said, citing his response to the Orlando massacre.
Trump reiterated his call for a moratorium on Muslim immigrants in the wake of the shooting. The 29-year-old gunman declared his allegiance to the Islamic State while on the phone with the police during the attack.
Nevertheless, the Pink Pistols mission promotes an individual’s right “to defend themselves from harm,” and in the wake of the election, as the political tide turned from Democrat to Republican, interest in that right and the Pink Pistols on social media has increased.
But a better measurement of the group’s growing popularity is seen in its chapter growth since the nightclub shooting.
Aside from Facebook likes increasing from around 1,500 to well over 9,100, some 15 Pink Pistol chapters have started or been restarted nationwide — a nearly 50 percent increase, Patton told TheBlaze.
And in Atlanta, hundreds of people have expressed interest in joining the Pink Pistols at local gun ranges to train or practice, she said.
Following the shooting, the Pink Pistols urged Americans to focus on the motive of the killings, not what Omar Mateen used to murder and injure so many.
Patton said in June:
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.
Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.