The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning has prompted California’s largest advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to back an ongoing legislative push for further firearms restrictions.
Equality California joined legislative leaders at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday morning to endorse a package of more than a dozen gun control bills currently working their way through the Legislature, including measures implementing background checks for ammunition purchases, banning the possession of large-capacity magazines and requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns.
“Orlando is a call to action. Ending gun violence must be one of the LGBT community’s highest priorities,” executive director Rick Zbur said in a statement, adding that LGBT people are “disproportionately impacted by gun violence.”
The massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, in which 50 people died and another 53 were injured, is the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It immediately revived debate around stalled congressional proposals to expand background checks for gun purchases and ban the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists.
As part of its endorsement, Equality California vowed to “aggressively lobby” in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., where Democratic senators on Wednesday undertook a 15-hour filibuster trying to force a vote on their gun control bills.
“LGBT people and everyone else deserve to live free from fear, but the current patchwork of laws across the country is not keeping us safe,” Zbur said. “Too many people – in communities from Newtown to San Bernardino to Orlando – have paid the price for the inadequacy of those protections and for the inaction of Congress.”
Guns and gender have already mixed in the political fight over Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ballot initiative, which incorporates many of the same provisions as the legislative package. After opponents launched an online ad campaign featuring transgender women, Newsom accused the National Rifle Association of “Using the Trans community to fight their battle of lies,” prompting a backlash.
Equality California said Friday it is still evaluating Newsom’s initiative.