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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

LGBT groups set their sights on gun control

by Take Two®

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Mourners hold candles while observing a moment of silence during a vigil outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the mass shooting victims at the Pulse nightclub June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The American gunman who launched a murderous assault on a gay nightclub in Orlando was radicalized by Islamist propaganda, officials said Monday, as they grappled with the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The tragic mass shooting in Orlando has led some of the nation's top LGBT groups to train their sights on gun control. 

Many of those same groups were instrumental in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, and they are bringing their organizational muscle to the battle over guns. 

"We've called on Congress to pass commonsense gun legislation," says Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.

That includes a ban on military-style assault weapons, closing of gun show loopholes and improved background checks.

"Orlando really was a call to action and has resulted in us and many other LGBT groups to significantly elevate this as a priority," he says.

Zbur says with the fight over same-sex marriage more or less over, it allowed his organization to move onto the next phase of issues that affect LGBT people such as gun violence.

Not all people agree, however. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Nicki Stallard, founder of the LGBT gun group Pink Pistols, argued that LGBT people should carry guns to protect themselves from violence and hate crimes.

This is a call to L.G.B.T. people to take their own defense seriously, and to question the left-leaning institutions that tell them guns are bad, and should be left to the professionals. Become a professional. You’re allowed. That’s what the Second Amendment is for. We can fight back when our lives depend on it.

"Although there are some voices out there that have different points of view," says Zbur, "we think that this is clearly an LGBT issue and that there's strong support within our community for stronger gun safety."

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