Stella Maxwell
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On Gun Violence: Marches Aren’t the Problem

On Gun Violence: Marches Aren’t the Problem

A credit to Mr. Craffey and Mr. Moran in their recent Advocate op-ed, “Log Cabin Republicans: We Resist the #Resist March.” They got at least one fact right. They correctly noted that the June 12, 2016, Pulse shooting was the deadliest shooting in American history.

Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there. The writers seem more horrified about LGBTQ Americans peacefully assembling to exercise their First Amendment rights than they are about the epidemic of gun violence in our country.

The reason? They have no answers for a community still reeling from gun violence. By painting the shooting as a “terrorist attack,” Log Cabin ignores the reality: The shooting was carried out by an American-born man whose toxic hatred for LGBTQ people and history of domestic abuse was weaponized by our lax gun laws.

Mass shootings have continued unabated in the 10 months since Pulse. Five police officers were killed and another dozen wounded in Dallas last July. This year, five people were killed and six wounded in Fort Lauderdale, to name just two all too common examples. What these tragedies have in common with Pulse is that — in a country with more guns than people — they could have been prevented if we made guns harder to get. Fewer guns would make us safer.

Craffey and Moran call for more support for the victims of the Pulse shooting. That’s a laudable goal, but it’s one that President Trump himself has never tried to achieve. Rather than meet with the victims of the Pulse shooting, two months after the Orlando shooting, Trump instead flew to Orlando to campaign with some of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Had Trump met with the victims in the wake of Pulse, he might have heard a new, unified push for gun violence prevention between the LGBTQ community and advocates. In fact, their demands for action weren’t all that different from a Donald Trump who once supported a ban on assault weapons like the one used at Pulse.

Too many LGBTQ people around the country still live in fear of violence. According to GLAAD, at least nine transgender people have already been killed this year — all trans women of color — and the majority of them were killed with a firearm, according to media reports.

If LCR actually wants to make a difference, they should focus on the lived experience of LGBTQ people and the problems they face. The Pulse shooting left the Latinx community devastated. There are nearly a million LGBTQ immigrants in our country, many of whom fear for their lives precisely because our culture is in the grip of a toxic combination of hatred and easy access to firearms.

Until we have dramatically fewer guns, and they are dramatically harder to get, LGBTQ people will continue to be shot. Pulse was not the first time. It will not be the last. Making it easier for people to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public, as Trump and the gun lobby want to do, will do nothing to combat the rising tide of bias-motivated hate crimes that target LGBTQ people. It will only make the situation worse.

Gun laws actually work. California is one state where the gun lobby hasn’t been able to buy off lawmakers. As a result, it has some of the toughest restrictions on guns in the nation — and lower rates of gun deaths.

If Log Cabin Republicans are serious about giving meaning to the lives we lost at Pulse, they can start by persuading their Republican friends that showing real support for LGBTQ people takes more that reading aloud the letters “LGBTQ” — it means reducing the number of firearms on America’s streets.

There’s nothing wrong with marching to remind President Trump that LGBTQ Americans should be able to live their lives free from fear of gun violence. And if any other Log Cabin Republicans agree, they should consider joining.

IGOR VOLSKY is the deputy director of Cap Action and the director of Guns Down. Follow him on Twitter @IgorVolsky. MARK GLAZE is the former executive director of Everytown for Gun Safety. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCGlaze.

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