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National LGBTQ Task Force: It’s time to reevaluate the role of guns in America

Washington – DC, March 19, 2018: The National LGBTQ Task Force released a new platform on gun policy that condemned the myth that mental health is linked to gun violence, while at the same time it laid out how police brutality, racism, transphobia, homophobia, and misogyny are all part of the gun violence problem.

On March 19, the National LGBTQ Task Force released its gun violence prevention platform as the first of its Rethinking LGBTQ Policy Series, that outlined a comprehensive new approach to guns from an LGBTQ and racial justice perspective. The Task Force called for a ban on assault weapons, and it also looked at many areas of gun violence that are often overlooked in the gun debate, from police brutality, to ending the shaming of mental illness in the gun policy debate.

The Task Force focused much of its attention on gun violence victims who live in predominantly Black and brown communities. “We focused on lifting up Black and brown voices in the gun violence debate because they are routinely ignored by policy makers and are at far greater risk by the nation’s current gun policies than white America,” explained Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, a senior policy counsel at the Task Force and the lead author of the policy.

Rodríguez-Roldán continued that, “Gun violence is an LGBTQ issue, we are more likely than our non-LGBTQ peers to be the target of gun violence — all too often the victims of hate or at the abusive hands of law enforcement.”

The Task Force’s strongest language was around condemning the ignorant myth that mental health issues are linked to gun violence, and that the Task Force was committed to countering the shaming of people with mental health issues from all sides in the gun debate.

The Task Force laid out ten areas for policy makers:

  • Challenge police violence through demilitarization.
  • Repeal “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” laws.
  • Do not insert mental illness or disability into gun violence policy-making.
  • Do not use the “No-Fly” list as a criteria for gun ownership.
  • Encourage gun buy-back programs.
  • Pass laws requiring safe storage or locking of guns.
  • Prohibit domestic abusers from gun ownership.
  • Restrict sales of assault weapons and certain types of ammunition.
  • Avoid over-reliance on criminal background checks – focus on histories of violence.
  • Enact legislation for extreme risk protection orders that are tailored to focus on predictors of violence.

“With this policy position paper, the Task Force fills an important role in by giving gun violence prevention an intersectional analysis, ” said Stacey Long Simmons, Esq., Director of the Advocacy and Action Department. “Pulse focused attention on violent bigotry against LGBTQ people, but there is so much more to the epidemic than mass murders. There are murders by the police, there are domestic violence murders, and on and on. We support the young people of Parkland who say #NeverAgain and commit to building on their  efforts from our own uniquely progressive, LGBTQ lens.”

The organizations who are endorsing the position paper are:

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Mazzoni Center

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers


National Black Justice Coalition

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Legal Aid at Work