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LGBT gun group membership spikes after Florida shooting

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Matt Schlentz poses with his Rainbow-Gadsen Flag and AR-15 in his backyard in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, June 16. Schlentz is the Pink Pistols Utah chapter President and said Pink Pistols, a national LGBT pro-gun rights organization, membership has grown from 1,500 to 4,000 since Omar Mateen’s June 12 rampage in Orlando, Fla.

SALT LAKE CITY >> Memberships have more than doubled in a national LGBT pro-gun rights organization since a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Florida, killing 49 people.

Pink Pistols Utah chapter President Matt Schlentz said Pink Pistols membership has grown from 1,500 to 4,000 since Omar Mateen’s June 12 rampage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“It’s really sad that something on this scale had to happen for people to realize this is a need for our community,” Schlentz said. “But the reality is we still get attacked for kissing our partners or holding hands in public. We get windows smashed for having an equality sticker on them.”

Schlentz owns semi-automatic rifles similar to the Sig Sauer MCX that Mateen used, and he said he gets mixed reactions from people who learn he’s a gun rights advocate.

“Obviously, as a gay man, I have to have some liberal views socially. But on this one point, I have very conservative views. The reality is what it is — the world is a violent, terrible, scary place, and people do wish me harm based on who I love.”

Pink Pistols organized in 2000 in response to a series of violent incidents like the murder in Wyoming of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Some early slogans were “Queers bash back” and “Pick on someone your own caliber.”

Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah is another pro-gun LGBT group.

“As awful as Orlando is, I feel like this is a huge eye-opener for a lot of people that the world is not a perfect place, especially for a group that’s at risk for this kind of violence,” said Scott Mogilefsky, the group’s president and an Army veteran.

There was an increase in people inquiring with the group after Orlando, he said.

“Security should be armed at all gay nightclubs, and all employees should run through a defensive shooting course once a year,” Mogilefsky said. “When you think about supremacist groups, a gay bar is an easy target. And the shooter knew that. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.”

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  • I don’t care who they are or what they believe, people who feel a need to “pose” with their firearms kind of creep me out. Most of the serious shooting enthusiasts I know would never dream of doing this.

    • social media babies don’t realize how much information they set free on the internet. anyone seeing guys like this on the street knows their weapon is home alone.

  • somehow, i don’t see an ar15, shotgun or any long rifle as being the ideal carry when going out on the town.

    but, the pinks got it right: your protection and that of your family is your responsibility. you can not depend on the police who have no duty to protect you from harm from another person. it’s up to you.

    if you are part of a carry crowd, designate a carry who will not drink alcohol, sort of a designated driver. also you need to decide beforehand whether the carry is to engage the threat or cover your retreat. i prefer cover retreat as other carrys in the area may think you are part of the problem.

  • This article makes me laugh. You don’t have to buy guns to protect yourselves in a bar whether you’re gay or not. Guns are expensive and complicated to maintain. You have to train to use them with night vision goggles and learn to steel yourself in a combat situation. You’d be better off hiring retired cops or mercenaries who are familiar with close combat scenarios. They have been trained with the legal questions that need to be answered before you shoot someone. Let these specialists makes the hard life and death decisions. A far better solution would be to stop screaming out loud to the world you’re GAY. Don’t go to gay bars, gay parades, gay protests. Just be like the rest of us. Don’t make waves to attract attention to yourselves.

  • I guess that if you consider Islam (or “radical Islam”) to be a “supremacist groups”, then the last paragraph makes sense. I do not support the “gay agenda”, whatever that is currently defined as, but I do support each citizen’s right to self defense, and I applaud the Pink Pistols and others who recognize and take that right seriously.

  • Can you blame them? Not at all. The Pink Pistols have it right on this one. Just a single armed insider could have made a difference. Not guaranteed, of course, but someone on the inside could have taken down the shooter earlier.

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