Buckeye Firearms courts LGBT community with free gun classes

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Buckeye Firearms Association is welcoming the public to a free firearm self-defense class and made special emphasis to include members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender community.

“Some people are not comfortable with firearms. That’s fine. But others, especially those in historically oppressed communities, may choose to respond more assertively. If so, we are here to help them learn more about practical means of self-defense so they can make an informed decision,” said Dean Rieck, the organizations executive director, in a statement.

“We’re saddened by the tragic murders in Orlando, but we’re also angry,” Rieck said, adding, “News reports indicate that many people were trapped with no clear exit and no means of defending themselves. The advice in these situations is to run, hide, or fight. Unfortunately, in this given situation, many people had nowhere to run or hide. And they had no practical way to fight.”

Under state law, a person permitted to carry a firearm is not authorized to open or conceal carry a gun in an establishment licensed to serve and devoted to alcohol.

However, the Orlando Police Department said one of its police officers, who was moonlighting at the club, engaged the gunman in an exchange of gunfire shortly after the gunman entered at 2 a.m. But the gunman pushed deeper into the club and the incident escalated into a hostage situation. The incident resulted in 49 people dead and 53 injured.

Buckeye said the class will cover basics of firearm defense including mindset, gun function, safety, selecting the right equipment, the process for obtaining a concealment license, and more.

Though the actual location and date are not yet determined, BFA assures the public the classroom will be a safe and comfortable atmosphere. The course will not include shooting.

Final plans for the class location are being made dependent upon the number of enrollees. So far, BFA has only said it will be held on a weekend in central Ohio.

The attack was allegedly carried out because of the gunman’s prejudice against gay men and influence by violent radicals, and the incident has been described as an act of hate and terror. Gay rights groups said the incident serves as a reminder of just how vulnerable the LGBT community is.

“This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence,” said Gwendolyn Patton, speaking on behalf of gay gun rights group Pink Pistols before dismissing calls for gun control. “At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns.”

Daniel Terrill contributed to the reporting of this piece