April 13, 2023 Blog

Gun Violence Prevention Bills and the LGBTQIA+ Community: A Crucial Intersection

Gun violence is a growing epidemic here in the United States. It affects individuals from all walks of life. We are living in a time when we don’t know if our grocery stores, places of worship, schools, movie theaters, concerts, and banks are safe. However, the LGBTQIA+ community faces a unique set of challenges, often being disproportionately targeted and victimized. 

We value the many lawmakers who continue to propose and pass gun violence prevention bills, but it is more crucial than ever to understand and address the particular ways these measures impact the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The LGBTQIA+ Community and Gun Violence

Day of Silence

It is essential to recognize that the LGBTQIA+ community is not a monolithic group, but rather a diverse and intersectional community encompassing various identities, backgrounds, and experiences. This diversity further complicates the issue of gun violence, as different community members may face unique risks and vulnerabilities.

For instance, transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, are at a heightened risk of experiencing violence.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in 2021 alone, at least 59 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed through other forms of violence in the United States.

Hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ individuals remain a persistent issue, with firearms often being the weapon of choice.

Key Gun Violence Prevention Bills

Several legislative initiatives have been proposed to address gun violence in Washington. Some of the most notable bills in 2023 include:

HB 1143: 10-Day Waiting Period and Safety Training – PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE (in 2023)

This bill mandates a 10-day waiting period and safety training for all firearm purchases. By imposing a waiting period and requiring training, this legislation aims to reduce impulsive acts of gun violence and ensure that firearm owners understand the responsibilities and risks associated with gun ownership.

HB 1240: Banning Assault-Style Weapons – PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE (in 2023)

Seeks to ban the sale, transfer, distribution, manufacture, and importation of assault-style weapons, as distinguished by their military-style features. This legislation aims to reduce the availability of these particularly dangerous firearms, which have been used in numerous mass shootings across the United States.

Potential Impacts on the LGBTQIA+ Community

These bills have the potential to significantly impact the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals. By closing loopholes and implementing preventative measures, these legislative efforts would ensure increased protection for the community as a whole.

However, it is essential to recognize that these bills alone are not enough. Comprehensive measures must be enacted to address the root causes of violence, such as systemic discrimination, economic disparities, and mental health care equity and access. The LGBTQIA+ community must also be involved in the development and implementation of these policies to ensure they address their unique needs and concerns.

As the United States continues to grapple with the issue of gun violence, it is crucial to recognize the unique challenges faced by the community. Gun violence prevention bills have the potential to offer increased protection to these individuals, but they must be accompanied by a comprehensive and intersectional approach that acknowledges the diverse experiences and needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Only then can we hope to create a safer and more inclusive society for everyone.

— Christian Coulter (He/Him) is the Digital Media Manager at the Alliance.