The LGBTQ Community Is Locked and Loaded

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms for purposes of self defense belongs to everyone.

From The Motherboard:

Spurred by fear of Trump’s America, the LGBTQ community is strapping up.

Ian Birnbaum
Mar 27 2017

Gunfire rattles steadily around the Austin Rifle Club, a private gun range on the outskirts of Texas’ metropolitan capital. Among the pick-up trucks and camo-wearing gun enthusiasts, a young woman in a light plaid top and sandals leans forward with a pistol, her arms and knees bent. She pulls the trigger, steady and confident. As she fires, her target—a poster of a zombie hipster waving an iPhone and a purse dog—perforates with a tight, consistent grouping.

The 28-year-old woman, Reina Mercado, holds fire as her friend and instructor, Sarah Rossig, walks her through reloading the handgun under speed and pressure. It’s the kind of work that combat shooters practice constantly, but it’s less common at a range full of weekend target-plinkers like this one. It’s even less common to see shooters like Mercado at the range. Mercado is a transgender woman who immigrated from the Philippines when she was 6 years old. She went from making toy guns out of scrap on a family farm to Houston, Texas, deep in the heart of gun culture and oil money.

Mercado represents a new and unlikely set of players in the gun culture that dominates America in general and Texas in particular. They’re young, liberal, and many are members of the LGBT community. They’re not the kind of people you think of when you think of gun rights advocates, but after watching Donald Trump’s rise to power during the 2016 election, they’re all ready to exercise their second amendment right to bear arms.

“I’m trans, I’m a person of color, I’m more likely to be targeted. I’m more likely to be in a place where  everyone is being targeted, just like the Orlando folks. I was just like, damn, I need a gun more than these conservative rednecks do.”

With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, gun sales have dropped and the stock of publicly traded gun manufacturers like Ruger and Smith & Wesson plunged as much as 30 percent. Put simply: “The threat is gone,” as a gun store owner in Ohio told USA Today. New, more comprehensive gun control legislation is improbable as long as Republicans control Congress and the White House, and if Hillary or Obama aren’t coming for our guns, there’s no need to rush out and buy AR15s, extended magazines, and other popular targets of gun control restrictions.

The exception: African Americans, religious minorities, and LGBT people are buying guns and getting licensed to carry to cope with their increasingly hostile surroundings. The exact numbers are unknown—the FBI doesn’t release race data for their background checks—but gun store owners anecdotally report a “four-fold” increase in minority customers. Meanwhile, the number of black Americans who saw guns as a source of protection almost doubled from 2012 to 2014. Racial tensions in particular were already high before the election, and an outbreak of swastika graffiti and hate crime incidents immediately after Election Day did nothing to calm things down. A gun store owner in Virginia told NBC that he had noticed “an uptick” in black and minority customers in the weeks after the election.

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