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Lore McSpadden, Trigger Warning gun club member

Members of this LGBTQ gun club are arming themselves against the far right


Gun clubs are commonly associated with conservative groups, but a members of a new gun club in New York are taking up arms against that stereotype and anti-LGBTQ hatred.

The Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club, based in Rochester, N.Y., formed as a response to growing anxiety within the LGBTQ community about the rise of an armed far-right.

"We have each others' backs," said club member Lore McSpadden. "We're acknowledging our fear of a world in which conservatives are the only ones who are armed."

The group meets once a month for target practice and skeet shooting.

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"We have survived the oppressive weight of intersectional discrimination involving racism, sexism, classism, sizeism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism, and the many other dimensions of hate and privilege that permeate society," the group's Facebook page states.

"Because we are Trigger Warning, and we are here to protect ourselves from the forces that would destroy us. Consider yourselves warned."

Members of the club said anti-LGBTQ events and others like the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted them to form a group that encourages members of the LGBTQ community to defend themselves.

"Often queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenseless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that," said Jake Allen, another member of the Trigger Warning gun club.

"I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves," he said.

Allen says there is another Trigger Warning chapter in Atlanta, and says he has received inquiries from people in other cities.

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The Trigger Warning group is not alone. Paid membership in The Liberal Gun Club, a national organization, has nearly doubled since President Trump's election and 500 people joined the National African-American Gun Association after the Charlottesville rally.

Members of the Trigger Warning group say they are focused on empowerment and self-defense.

But some activists worry the rise in left-leaning gun groups could be dangerous.

"Is an arms race what we really want?" asked Scott Fearing, executive director of Rochester's Out Alliance.

"What we know in any arms race is that it's never good for anybody, and death and destruction and harm and hurt can come when so many people have arms and weapons."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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