It has been reported that since President Trump took over the White House, gun owners and second amendment enthusiasts no longer fear the threat of their weapons being taken away by the government with NRA-endorsed Trump now President.
The opposite was true during the Obama administration with gun production and sales roughly doubling in size due to the panic gun owners felt over losing their right to bear arms.
While the gun industry is ironically experiencing a current slump in sales under a gun-friendly administration, there is a very unlikely demographic now purchasing guns and advocating for their right to carry.
They are young, liberal and queer – everything we do not associate with gun-totting Americans.
LGBTQ community is locked & loaded
Their motivation to bear arms stems from the continued surge in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community since Trump took office.
A transgender woman named Mercado, who immigrated from the Philippines as a child, took part in a Motherboard documentary exploring this new trend. She shared why she thinks strapping up is a matter of life and death.
"I realized that I'm statistically more likely to be a victim. I'm trans, I'm a person of color, I'm more likely to be targeted.
I'm more likely to be in a place where everyone is being targeted, just like the Orlando folks. I was just like, damn, I need a gun more than these conservative rednecks do."
Doug Krick, a libertarian activist from Illinois, founded the Pink Pistols in July 2000, an organization that advocates gun ownership for the LGBTQ community. Pink Pistols aim to change the perception that the queer community is an easy target. Their mission statement as outlined on their site:
"We are dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community.
We no longer believe it is the right of those who hate and fear gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or polyamorous persons to use us as targets for their rage. Self-defense is our RIGHT."
Pink Pistols now has 60 chapters in 33 states and three countries. The group meets once a month at local firing ranges to practice shooting. They help members with acquiring a permit and find LGBTQ friendly shooting ranges in your area.
Although the numbers of LGBTQ members carrying guns may be rising, there is still a large segment of the queer community who continue to stand strongly behind gun control.
Judging from the sobering statistics on the deadly risks of having a gun in a home, it's easy to see why. In fact, study after study have been clear on the fact that guns do little to reduce one's risk of being a victim of a crime.
From The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine study looking into the risks and benefits of owning a gun in a home:
"For most contemporary Americans, scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit.
The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide and that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns.
There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes.
On the benefit side, there are fewer studies, and there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in."
Mercado is aware of the risks she takes with owning a gun, but she can't deny the feeling of security it provides her, even if the gun lulls her into a false sense of security.