Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pride Fund galvanizes supporters on gun reform four months after Pulse

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 8:51 AM

  • Photo via Patrick Murphy U.S. Senate campaign
The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence energized its supporters Wednesday with stronger calls for gun reform from its endorsed candidates four months after the Pulse massacre. 

The political action committee, which was created in the wake of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were killed, has endorsed several Floridian politicians, including U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings.

Murphy, who is currently running against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for his seat, blasted the Republican incumbent for refusing to take a stricter stance on guns, such as expanding background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. Rubio did introduce a bill earlier in September that would make it harder for suspected terrorists to buy guns, though Murphy and other Democrats called it "unworkable." 

"Marco Rubio refuses to stand with us," Murphy says. "He is firmly in the grip of the gun lobby and in his votes and rhetoric he sides with special interests every time. Floridians deserve a Senator who fights for them and I will show up and work hard to keep our families safe." 

Murphy says one of the first pieces of legislation he would sponsor regarding gun control would be one that closes the "terrorist loophole" that allows suspected terrorists buy guns. 

"I've talked to Republican gun owners, NRA members that agree we should do that," the Jupiter Democrat says. "On the heels of that bill, we would move something forward to expand background checks. This is just to ensure the guns are ending up in the right hands. And again, gun owners respect this and think we should be doing this. Right now 40 percent of gun sales go unchecked. That's silly to me." 

Murphy and Demings were also joined Wednesday by Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, local Democratic political candidates and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who served as senator in Connecticut during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

Jason Lindsay, executive director of the Pride Fund, says the PAC is trying to do more outreach to communities outside of the LGBTQ spectrum, such as the Latino community. Aside from the Senate race, Pride Fund is also focusing on the Central Florida race between Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica and Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat. Pride Fund recently released an ad saying Mica made a "blood oath" with the National Rifle Association to "put the profits of gun makers ahead of the safety of his community."

"Everyone that was moved by the tragedy has to get out and vote," Lindsay says. "The polls show Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy so close that every little vote can matter. I implore everyone that participated in all those vigils and rallies to make sure they get out and vote with the same tenacity." 

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