Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Hope (and Thoughts and Prayers) for Our Gun-Totin’ Future

By : STEVE YACOVELLI
Comments: 0

Steve Yacovelli

The Parkland shooting has yet again re-ignited the great American gun control debate. Both sides of the coin have brought out their best arguments for control/freedom. It’s sadly yet another repeat of the same ol’ “thoughts and prayers” responses we have heard time and time again: from Sandy Hook to Virgina Tech to Las Vegas to our own Pulse massacre. Yet this time something feels a bit different; it feels like a tipping point of sorts.

While there was ample focus after Pulse within our community and beyond to look at common sense gun control, sadly we were constantly met with that “thoughts and prayers” shenanigans from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Some – like Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith – passionately reached out to lawmakers to change things. Groups like the Orlando chapter of Gays Against Guns and The Dru Project formed and shouted for gun reform. But nothing seemed to change. Some thought that, gee, if Washington wasn’t moved into action when kindergarteners were gunned down in their own classroom at Sandy Hook, maybe nothing could really turn the dial.

Continue Reading >>

Gun control rallies take place in Florida, across U.S., around the world

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

ABOVE: A participant in a “March for Our Lives” rally in Tampa, Fla., on March 24, 2018, holds a sign in homage of Emma González, a bisexual student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who has emerged as a vocal gun control advocate after a gunman killed 17 people inside her school last month. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of “March for Our Lives” gun control rallies, marches and protests took place across the U.S. and around the world on Saturday.

Continue Reading >>

State Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado hold roundtable ahead of gun bill vote

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

ABOVE: State House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith listens to survivors of the Pulse shooting at a Central Florida roundtable on gun control in Orlando March 3. Photo by Jeremy Williams

ORLANDO | Florida House Democrats Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Rep. Amy Mercado held a roundtable March 3 in Orlando with survivors and families of victims of the Pulse tragedy, along with parents, students, teachers and advocates to discuss current gun safety proposals introduced by the Florida legislature.

“Many of you are impacted by gun violence because you survived the horrific shooting at Pulse. Many of you are implicated by this legislation that the Florida Legislature is considering because you are students, teachers or parents,” Smith said in his opening remarks to the guests. “Today is about lifting all of your voices right now so that we as lawmakers can take the feedback to Tallahassee.”

Continue Reading >>

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
Comments: 0

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.

Continue Reading >>

Standing our ground: State legislators take action to prevent gun violence

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

ORLANDO – In a time in which gun violence has reached critical mass – including but not limited to the Pulse massacre on the night of June 12 – two recently elected legislators are looking to do something about the scourge of assault weapons. On Jan. 5, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and State Sen. Linda Stewart took to the steps of the Orange County Courthouse to introduce their companion bills, HB 167 and SB 254, each designed to limit the availability of assault weapons in Florida.

“I am proud to stand with everyone that I see here today to act. I look forward to seeing you in Tallahassee. If you think it’s going to be easy, it’s not. But we will need all of you there behind us, helping us.” Florida Senator-elect Linda Stewart said.

Continue Reading >>

Marijuana, gun control, minimum wage hikes win at the polls

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

Filling a void created by congressional inaction, voters in a scattering of states tightened gun control laws and approved increases in the minimum wage. The campaign to legalize marijuana achieved a major breakthrough, with victories in at least six states.

In all, more than 150 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Tuesday’s election.

Continue Reading >>

Orlando-area residents affected by gun violence join Pride Fund Board

By : Chelsea Santiago
Comments: 0

Share this story:

While Orlando still reels from the attack on Pulse nightclub, several Orlando residents are taking action. In a press release early September, Pride Fund Board of Advisors said they were thrilled to have five new members join to help fight for commonsense gun reforms.

One of those members is the owner of the late Pulse Nightclub, Barbara Poma, who created Pulse as a safe space for the LGBT community.

Continue Reading >>

In the wake of the Pulse massacre, the LGBT community inadvertently intersects with the gun-rights battle

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine for the 49,” was just one of the transcendent protest hymns echoing through the lobby outside the Orlando office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on July 11.

While organizers representing the full panoply of Central Florida staged their “#sitinforthe49” – a clear reference to the 49 people gunned down by a semi-automatic rifle in the early hours of June 12 – echoes of unrest from the fringes were everywhere. Members of Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida and Organize Now, among others, assembled peacefully, even mournfully, for a morning of conscientious objection.

Continue Reading >>

House Democrats hold sit-in for gun reform

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Washngton (AP) — A drained and dwindling group of Democrats, some draped in blankets and toting pillows, carried their remarkable House floor sit-in past daybreak June 23, disrupting the business of Congress in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage with demands for gun-control votes in an extraordinary scene of protest broadcast live to the world.

Unyielding Republicans who control the chamber branded the move a publicity stunt and summarily adjourned the chamber at around 3:15 a.m. EDT until after the Fourth of July. By 7:30 a.m. on June 23 — 20 hours after the protest commenced — around a dozen Democrats remained, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, giving speeches that mixed victory declarations with vows to never back down in their drive to curb firearm violence.

Continue Reading >>

Obama, Biden to visit Orlando as community mourns

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

Washington (AP) — As political leaders bicker over guns and terrorism, President Barack Obama will try to help a distraught community heal during a solemn visit to Orlando June 16.

Obama planned no major speech or call to action during his trip to a community after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, as he has after other tragedies. Instead, Obama was to spend much of his time in private consoling families of the 49 victims, and meeting with doctors, paramedics and other first responders.

Continue Reading >>

Senator forces gun control vote with 15-hour filibuster

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)Washington (AP) — A Democratic senator frustrated with congressional inaction on gun violence led a nearly 15-hour Senate filibuster before yielding the floor early on June 16, making a pledge that he and his colleagues would press hard for more gun control three days after 49 people were killed at a Florida nightclub.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy ended a series of speeches with his Democratic colleagues at 2:11 a.m EDT after promising at the outset that he would remain on the Senate floor “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together.” At the end, he said he had won commitments from Republican leaders that they would hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. It is unlikely that those amendments will pass.

Continue Reading >>