The results of this year’s midterm election will be enormously important — not just in shaping the future of Donald Trump’s presidency but in shaping the American political landscape for a great many years to come. While there are many difficult challenges our country faces, one issue that has consistently remained at the forefront of the conversation and is bound to play a critical role in this year’s elections is gun violence.
From Las Vegas to Parkland, from Santa Fe to Sutherland Springs, gun violence continues to wreak havoc on communities across the country. But there is one community that is taking a united stand against the daily onslaught of these tragedies and the Republicans who refuse to take action to prevent them in the future, and that’s the LGBTQ community.
In a landmark new poll conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies, in association with Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, LGBTQ voters overwhelmingly reported that gun reform is the most important political issue for them ahead of the 2018 midterm election. The poll is the first of its kind, providing a comprehensive look into the positions and views of the LGBTQ community on the issues of guns and gun reform.
This poll discovered that among the many issues assessed in the survey, with examples such as health care, the economy, immigration, and LGBTQ rights, gun reform was what LGBTQ voters cared most about. So much that 79 percent of LGBTQ voters said a candidate’s position on gun reform is likely to impact their voting decisions on Election Day.
Furthermore, the poll revealed that LGBTQ voters overwhelmingly support gun safety laws such as expanding background checks (89 percent), banning assault weapons (80 percent), and banning large capacity magazines (78 percent). What’s even more telling and should worry every Republican in Congress that is now up for reelection is the fact that more than seven in 10 LGBTQ voters do not believe the current Congress will pass any new gun safety laws, even in the wake of the horrific shootings that took place in Las Vegas last October and Parkland, Fla., on Valentine's Day. With the combination of LGBTQ voters ranking gun reform as their most important issue in the midterms, the high level of political involvement in the gay community, and their view that the current Congress won’t act, it makes clear that LGBTQ voters are very motivated to defeat Republicans who stand in the way of gun reform.
That’s why the work of organizations like Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is so important. We know from this poll that the LGBTQ community is overwhelmingly politically active, particularly gay men and lesbians (84 percent of gay men and 78 percent of lesbians vote in both federal and state elections). We also know they overwhelmingly support common sense gun reform and are very motivated on the issue. Finally, we know that the politically active LGBTQ community can help flip crucial races around the country to Democratic hands when mobilized. This makes the work of Pride Fund so critical. The goal of Pride Fund is to defeat National Rifle Association–backed elected officials at the state and federal level who refuse to take action on gun reform and replace them with true advocates who prioritize public safety over the profits of gun manufacturers.
As the nation’s only LGBTQ political organization focused solely on gun violence prevention, Pride Fund is uniquely positioned to appeal directly to a segment of America that has largely been ignored in the gun violence prevention movement. Since our establishment in the wake of the Pulse shooting two years ago, through extensive outreach, education, and engagement within the LGBTQ community, Pride Fund has been able to raise the profile of the issue of gun violence among these politically active voters.
Over time, the LGBTQ community has mobilized again and again on key policy issues and has played a critical role in winning political and legal battles such as achieving marriage equality, repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the government response to the AIDS epidemic. Now our community is mobilized in the fight for gun reform, and we are making waves in the movement.
Our community is battle-tested and ready to take on new political and legal battles. The results of this poll make it blatantly obvious that the LGBTQ community is taking on gun reform, and it’s a battle that we will ultimately win. To get involved in the fight for gun reform, visit our website at PrideFund.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @Pride_Fund.
JASON LINDSAY is founder and executive director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, a political action committee that supports state and federal candidates who will act on sensible gun policy reforms and champion LGBTQ equality. Lindsay is a seasoned political operative with 14 years of experience working in politics, government, and campaigns. He also served for 14 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.