June 17, 2016 at 12:06 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
HRC adopts resolution to support gun safety measures

Chad Griffin, Orlando, HRC, gay news, Washington Blade

The Human Rights Campaign under Chad Griffin has adopted a resolution to support gun safety legislation. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The nation’s largest LGBT group has adopted a resolution pledging to support gun control legislation in the wake of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that claimed the lives of 49 people — overwhelming LGBT and Latino — and wounded 53 others.

The resolution, which the Human Rights Campaign announced on Friday, affirms the organization will support gun safety reform measures within the United States, including “limiting access to assault-style rifles, expanding background checks, and limiting the ability for suspected terrorists and those with a history of domestic abuse to access guns.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the resolution was adopted because the 49 LGBT people killed in the Orlando shooting died as a result of “a deranged, unstable individual who had been conditioned to hate LGBTQ people, and easy access to military-style guns.”

“It is imperative that we address both issues in order to mitigate safety risk to our community,” Griffin said. “As a society, we must hold accountable lawmakers, religious leaders and other public officials who put a target on the backs of LGBTQ people through hateful rhetoric and legislation, because they are complicit in the violence fueled by their words and actions. The safety of the LGBTQ community depends on our ability to end both the hatred toward our community and the epidemic of gun violence that has spiraled out of control.”

According to a statement from the Human Rights Campaign, the resolution was adopted during an emergency meeting of the organization’s board of directors held by teleconference on Thursday evening.

In addition to declaring support for gun safety measures, the resolution affirms the Human Rights Campaign will continue to fight “to achieve full federal equality” and challenge leaders seek to target LGBT people with hateful speech and policies that undermine their rights.

The Human Rights Campaign announces the adoption of the resolution the day after the New York-based Arcus Foundation published a pledge of 50 groups — mostly LGBT organizations — who would support gun safety measures. Not among the signers was the Human Rights Campaign. UPDATE: A Human Rights Campaign spokesperson said the organization has signed on to the Arcus Foundation letter.

The Human Rights Campaign declined to comment on the board vote of the resolution or more detail about what the organization’s support for gun safety measures will look like.

Mark Glaze, a gay D.C-based gun safety advocate and president of “Campaign to Unload,” commended the Human Rights Campaign for formally joining efforts to support gun safety measures.

“It’s terrific,” Glaze said. “It’s a recognition that while we’re all at risk of gun violence, groups that face hate are especially vulnerable. The LGBT community just learned that in the worst possible way.”

Glaze said the Human Rights Campaign’s support will provide a significant to enacting gun safety measures because when it comes to changing public policy, “nobody’s better at it than our community.”

“This is the kind of help that the gun violence prevention community has needed for a long time, and if we get it, it could make all the difference,” Glaze said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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