Two months ago, our community was the target of the largest mass shooting in American history. We lost 49 men and women at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. Sadly, the public debate stalled as it has in countless tragedies before - Aurora, Newtown, San Bernardino - leaving us once again questioning what it will take for Congress to address common sense gun safety regulations.
When our federal representatives fail to act, it's time to look to our state elected officials to lead. We saw leaders step up in Connecticut, for example, after Newtown. Currently, a handful of states ban assault weapons like those used in Orlando. One of those states is Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has identified a simple, sensible and yet courageous solution to enhance her state's assault weapons ban: Massachusetts's law, which specifically includes a provision banning copycats, will be strictly enforced. It is an easy step, well-within the spirit and letter of existing long-standing law. And yet, unsurprisingly, the extreme wing of the pro-gun lobby has attacked Healey, an LPAC-endorsed and history-making first out lesbian Attorney General. Hateful insults have been thrown her way in the press and on digital platforms, including incredibly vile homophobic and misogynistic slurs.
As we have done with so many fights before, LGBTQ women must come together to support Maura Healey and the common-sense solutions she is proposing to curb the gun violence epidemic. Our community has good reason to demand safety as part of lived equality. Too often, we are the target of violence; and historically, we suffer greater rates of assault. Add that to the ease with which guns of any sort can be purchased, and gun control must be an LGBTQ issue. In fact, Healey noted that sales of the copycat automatic rifle jumped 450% in Massachusetts following the Orlando attack.
Lesbian and queer women, and our allies, must stand with Attorney General Maura Healey. Our demand is that leaders begin to address gun violence with some of the many easy and generally agreed-upon regulations like universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and the long-standing automatic assault weapon ban on a federal level. And, we stand with Attorney General Healey and other elected leaders like her who will enforce state rules recognizing that copycat weapons are manufactured and sold specifically to skirt state assault-weapon bans. The guiding principle that we must follow is that protecting of our families, our friends, and our community is an LGBTQ issue that we stand ready to defend.