WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly two months after our country’s worst mass shooting in history, two local Orlando leaders have joined Pride Fund to End Gun Violence (Pride Fund) in its efforts to support and elect candidates who will act on sensible gun policy reforms and champion LGBTQ safety and equality.
Orlando City Commissioner, District 4, and LGBTQ champion Patty Sheehan has joined Pride Fund on its Board of Advisors. Commissioner Patty Sheehan was first elected to the Orlando City Council in 2000 as the first openly-gay elected official in Central Florida. In her role, she championed the passage of non-discrimination protections and Domestic Partnership legislation for the LGBTQ community. While she believes strongly in Second Amendment rights, she has seen her community devastated by the attack at Pulse nightclub.
“It is time to do something, it is time for sensible gun reform policies,” said Commissioner Sheehan. “As much as we work to make a beautiful, wonderful, inclusive community in Orlando and around the country, it’s not going to make any difference if our kids can’t safely walk our streets.”
Along with Commissioner Sheehan, Christine Leinonen joins Pride Fund’s Board of Advisors. Ms. Leinonen is a former Michigan state trooper and mother of Christopher “Drew” Leinonen. Drew and his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, were both killed in the shooting at Pulse nightclub, where 47 others lost their lives and 53 more were injured. “When Drew was born common sense gun policies were in place when the hospital took my off duty gun and locked it in a safe,” Ms. Leinonen said, “where were those policies the day my son died?” In honor of her son, Ms. Leinonen is committed to seeing commonsense gun reforms become law.
Both individuals are joining out of frustration of stalled efforts in Congress to implement sensible gun policies. While a majority of Americans support sensible reforms to our gun laws, the gun lobby has had a stranglehold on Congress for years. Pride Fund, with the help of Commissioner Sheehan and Ms. Leinonen, is committed to loosening the gun lobby’s grip on Congress.
“I don’t want another mother, father, friend – anyone – to go through what I have gone through. Drew was my only son. He was perfect,” said Ms. Leinonen. “And now I have to live every day without him, all because a man with hate in his heart had access to a weapon of war that fired thirty rounds a minute.”
Pride Fund seeks grassroots engagement and donations. Each year, the gun lobby spends tens of millions of dollars to influence Congressional elections and legislative action. Pride Fund gives our community a unique voice to fight back by supporting candidates who champion diversity, equality, and – most of all – sensible gun reforms.
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