Pride Fund and politicians gather to rail against gun violence

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – On October 12, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence brought together some of its biggest supporters and endorsees for a downtown Orlando press conference. The subject at hand, of course, was the threat of firearms in the wrong hands, an issue that was only made more notable by the fact that the event was held four months to the day that 49 people were killed and 53 injured at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Pride Fund, which is an LGBT political action committee focusing predominantly on state and federal candidates, as most gun laws are not written by municipalities, picked senatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, congressional candidate and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings and Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to carry its message.

“I have seen my share of gun violence, broken dreams and shattered lives that gun violence leaves behind,” Demings said. “Staring at the lifeless bodies, I couldn’t help but think about their mothers, fathers, siblings and friends.”

She added that while in her office as police chief, she worked for a rollback of guns on the streets of Orlando.

“But now Orlando finds itself at the top of the list,” she said, before highlighting the plank in her platform that won her Pride Fund’s endorsement: common-sense gun reform.

“If we see something, we’re supposed to say something,” she said. “Enough is enough. Let’s get it done.”

Pride Fund chief executive officer Jason Lindsay echoed Demings sentiment, directly naming the National Rifle Association and the $37 million that organization has poured into senatorial campaigns of politicians voting against further restrictions on gun availability in America.

“It is our moral imperative to disarm hate,” Lindsay said.

Patrick Murphy, also endorsed by the Pride Fund, spoke to the issue of background checks and the terrorist gun loophole (“no-fly-no-buy”), common-sense measures he said that “the vast majority of Floridians support and the vast majority of gun owners support.” He also made a jab at opponent Marco Rubio, saying “his silence is deafening” on the issue.

Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., hammered the message home, speaking as someone who had endured the Newtown school massacre in 2012.

“My life changed,” he said. “And when Marco Rubio came back to Washington, he went to bat for the gun lobby. It makes no sense.”

Of Patrick Murphy’s senatorial candidacy, he said, “I need a partner that will make sure that what happened in Orlando never happens again.”

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