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LBGTQ Gun Ownership Rises, More Americans Learning Gun Safety is a Good Thing

Jon Falstaff, left, shows Emily Lynch how to properly stand and hold a shotgun during a training session for the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club. (ADRIAN KRAUS/AP)

By Tom Knighton | Bearing Arms

I get the feeling the Associated Press doesn’t really get gun owners. So often, their stories are so heavily biased against law-abiding gun owners that you can’t help but get the feeling that despite their claims of being unbiased observers of news, they’re really just trying to shape the narrative. Of course, that’s because they are.

But then they learn about a gun group that makes them take a step back and recognize that they simply can’t lump gun owners into a single category anymore.

The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line.

Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, “Pull!” and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester.

Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms.

“It’s a way to assert our strength,” said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group. “Often, queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenseless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that. And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Trigger Warning members meet once a month to shoot still targets and saucer-shaped pigeons. The 18 dues-paying members are all LGBTQ, many just learning about guns.

“I identified as a pacifist really through most of my life,” said McSpadden, 37, who has attended a self-defense seminar and now owns a 20-gauge shotgun.

This is part of a larger trend of liberals “arming up” in the midst of a media narrative that has people believing there are white supremacists lurking around every corner, just waiting to take us back to the days of slavery.

In a video by the AP, McSpadden notes that her fear is a world where only conservatives have guns. Unfortunately, that’s been the case for decades now, and guess what? It wasn’t an issue because the average gun owner isn’t interested in shooting someone because they’re different. They’re not interested in shooting anyone if they can help it.

But those same conservatives are also the very same people who have volunteered as part of Operation Blazing Sword, a project launched following the Pulse Orlando shooting last year. It’s where a large number of conservative and libertarian gun owners–including myself, to be clear–volunteered to help teach the LGBTQ community how to shoot so they could protect themselves.

In short, the average gun owner isn’t interested doing a thing to anyone in the Trigger Warnings group…except maybe chuckle at their name because it’s kind of awesome.

Don’t get me wrong, the concerns about neo-Nazis have a place. They’re out there and they’re a threat to pretty much anyone who disagrees with them on anything, but more so for people who are part of groups lacking approval by their warped ideology. Being concerned about those threats definitely has a place in one’s training.

But don’t be so focused on the boogeyman of “conservatives” that you ignore the more prevalent threats out there. You’re far, far more likely to be robbed than to be attacked by a neo-Nazi while you’re diddy-bopping down the street, minding your own business. You’re far more likely to have your home broken into and to have to defend yourself from that than you are to have to worry about the Klan showing up and trying to get rowdy.

If concerns about Nazi get you training for your safety, so much the better…but don’t just stop there.

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