LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Las Vegas LGBT community is taking steps to prevent such a tragedy here at home. It all comes down to guns, as one group aims to get the community armed and ready.
It's no secret that the shooting has sparked a massive gun debate. What would have happened if staff members behind the bar at Pulse Nightclub were allowed to carry guns?
Here in Las Vegas, they are allowed and now there's a push to make sure they will.
In Florida, the only person that is allowed to carry a gun in a bar is a security guard. In Nevada, the general bar staff is allowed to have a gun behind the bar.
"We're at risk,” said Derek Washington, state lead of Get Equal Nevada. “We're under attack. We're not just under attack from Muslim terrorists. We're under attack from Christian terrorists. We are under attack from drunk frat boys. We're always under attack."
Washington is calling on his LGBT peers to get a concealed carry weapons permit. It’s a process that starts with a required training course.
"I want those courses packed,” Washington said. “After Orlando, it is our responsibility to care of us. We can't depend on anyone else."
Thanks to a local organization called Out For Liberty, defense is not out of reach. The group is offering the multi-week course free of charge to any LGBT nightlife worker in Las Vegas.
"We all got our stuff, we all got our lives,” Washington said. “We all need to put them aside for a minute because we owe our community these classes."
Washington isn't a bartender, but he's taking the class because it's being offered at discounted price to LGBT locals who don't work in nightlife.
"I've seen people harassed for being gay and no one around them helped," he said.
Washington hopes everyone in his community takes advantage of this offer before it's too late.
Out for Liberty visited nine gay bars around Las Vegas Tuesday night, passing out fliers raising awareness about the importance of gay bartenders being armed.
"There's no time to lose," said Brandon Ellyson, chairman of Out for Liberty. "It's really important, it's the biggest tragedy in our community's history. And this is the least we can do."
The general manager at Flex thinks it's a good idea. Todd Tauber said his bartenders already heard about the class on social media and expressed interest in taking part in it.
"It's definitely a benefit for the community," he said.
Out for Liberty wants to make sure people working in the gay industry know how to defend themselves and understand how to use a basic gun -- all in order to prevent an incident like the Orlando massacre from happening again.
"It hit all of us -- the entire community was really rocked by it," he said."We made so many great strides forward in the last decade or so. This was just a reminder there's still so much hate out there."
The LGBT community isn't the only group heeding the call. Since Sunday, gun stores in the valley are seeing an increased interest in training courses among the general population.
Our 13 Action News crew caught up with the owner of The Gun Store on Tropicana and Eastern avenues.
"In the day after and now. You can sign up online for our classes. And there's been about a 25 percent increase in people signing up for the class."
To sign up for Out For Liberty’s free concealed carry permit course, click here.
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