LGBT groups renew gun control debate as gunman kills more than 20 people in Texas church

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A man on Sunday killed 26 people when he opened fire in a Texas church.

The San Antonio Express-News reported the gunman walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a town that is roughly 35 miles east of San Antonio. The newspaper cited local officials who said 15-20 people were wounded.

“May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” tweeted President Trump, who is currently in Japan. “The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement said his organization’s “hearts go out to those impacted by this senseless tragedy today in Sutherland Springs, Texas.”

Sunday’s mass shooting took place slightly more than a month after a gunman killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 others during a country music festival in Las Vegas.

A gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016. The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history until last month.

Eight people died on Oct. 31 when a rental pickup truck plowed into a bicycle path in lower Manhattan.

Reports indicate the man who was driving the truck shouted “Allahu akbar” once he was outside of it. The so-called Islamic State later described the man — a native of Uzbekistan who was living in New Jersey — as a “soldier of the caliphate.”

“Heartbreaking news out of Texas,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on his Twitter page. “Our community grieves with Sutherland Springs and sends our support.”

LGBT groups renew calls for gun control

Griffin on Sunday reiterated his organization’s support for gun control.

“Whether in an LGBTQ club or a Texas church, gun violence is plaguing our country,” he said in his statement. “Unless Congress acts, no community in America can be safe.”

“Make no mistake about it, what happened in Sutherland Springs this morning could have easily happened in any other town across America,” added Griffin. “The murder of innocent people across our country should move Congress to realize there is an overwhelming and indisputable need for action. It’s time for Congress to stand up to the NRA. We will continue to demand action until our lawmakers either hear us — or we have new lawmakers.”

Jason Lindsay, executive director of the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, a political action committee that formed in response to the Pulse nightclub massacre, echoed Griffin.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who are suffering today from an unimagined horror,” said Lindsay in a statement. “Today’s massacre is another reminder that no one is safe when access to guns is so easy. While the investigation continues and details continue to emerge, we must face the reality that one more American town is just the latest in a growing list of cities ravaged by senseless gun violence.”

Members of Gays Against Guns, a group that formed after the Pulse nightclub massacre, on Monday are scheduled to hold a “disruptive demonstration” at the Hart Senate Office Building. The Gays Against Guns protest was planned before Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas.

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