A group of 50 organizations — the preponderance of which are LGBT groups — have signed a pledge committing themselves to back gun safety legislation, but the nation’s largest LGBT group isn’t on the list.
Citing the Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub over the weekend that left 49 dead and 53 wounded, the statement — led by the New York-based Arcus Foundation and published late Thursday — says LGBT people remain vulnerable to bias-motivated violence, especially transgender people and LGBT people of color.
“Any solutions to the problem of hate violence, including anti-LGBTQ violence, must address the alarmingly easy access that bigots have to such deadly weapons,” the statement says. “For example, under current law, people convicted of violent hate crimes can legally buy and possess guns. This is unacceptable.”
The statement calls on Congress to take two approaches to combat gun violence: 1) preventing known and suspected terrorists and those convicted of violent hate crimes from legally buying guns; and 2) ensuring criminal background checks are required on all gun sales, including online and at gun shows.
The organizations issue the joint statement as congressional Democrats seek to force a vote on an assault weapons ban and a “No Fly, No Buy” measure prohibiting individuals on the “no-fly list” from purchasing firearms.
Among the signers of statement are national LGBT groups like GLAAD, OutServe-SLDN, the National Center for Transgender Equality and Pride at Work as well as local LGBT groups like Equality Alabama, Fair Wisconsin and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Other signers are gun safety advocates like Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence United with The Million Mom March.
But a look at the list of organizations reveals the Human Rights Campaign isn’t among them. An HRC spokesperson deferred to HRC President Chad Griffin’s remarks during a news conference on Sunday in response to a Washington Blade inquiry on why the organization is absent from the list.
“During this, their darkest hour, we as a nation must be their strength,” Griffin said at the time. “We must be their comfort, and we must promise that the memory of those they lost will never, ever fade. Love really does conquer hate. And today, I pray for love to also conquer sorrow. And let’s not forget that what made this hate so deadly – is that it’s still far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns in our country.
Although the Human Rights Campaign isn’t a signatory to the Arcus Foundation statement, the organization did sign onto a statement from Americans for Responsible Solutions that calls for preventing gun violence without endorsing any specific proposals.
UPDATE: A Human Rights Campaign spokesperson said on Friday after the initial publication of this article the organization has signed on to the Arcus Foundation letter. The Arcus Foundation confirmed the group has added its name.