Over the weekend, a 22-year-old gunman opened fire at a Colorado Springs, Colorado gay nightclub Saturday night into Sunday morning. Five people were killed. Twenty-five were injured, according to a press release from the Colorado Springs Police Department. The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.
The shooting has drawn the ire of LGBTQ+ groups across the country. The Kansas City LGBTQ Commission, in a statement over the weekend, called it ‘hate-fueled violence’.
“Every politician that spews anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric bears responsibility for the Colorado Springs shooting. Every politician who says that guns aren’t the problem bears responsibility for the Colorado Springs shooting.” pic.twitter.com/TKyZC0DnWx
— LGBTQ Commission of Kansas City (@LGBTQCommission) November 20, 2022
“All this has developed no more than 48-to-24 hours ago,” according to Justice Horn, Vice Chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission. “Just yesterday I was woken up by one of our commissioners saying we need to get on this, there’s been another shooting at a historically LGBTQ establishment. That’s when I kind of found out this happened two nights ago and that a gunman basically came into a historically LGBTQ place to do harm to folks with his AR-15 to just do us harm. This is similar, in some cases, to the Orlando shooting that happened at the Post Nightclub that killed 49 people.”
In coordination with Fountain Haus KC, the LGBTQ Commission of Kansas City held a vigil at the Fountain Haus entertainment space Sunday night where various community leaders attended.
The LGBTQ Commission of Kansas City wrote on Twitter, “No one should have to process this alone, especially on days like today.”
Horn expressed concern that anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is on the rise, “You know, this is a two-pronged issue. We are now in the space not only countrywide, and especially in the state of Missouri here locally, that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric does lead to, and does breed, violence. People feel emboldened and feel like they need to do something about it. People’s words do matter. As well as, you know, on the other side, we have very lax gun laws and the state legislature this past session passed a law saying we are not going to follow federal gun laws. So, it’s kind of those two things.”
Horn cites the memorandum that the commission released over the weekend criticizing politicians that use anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, adding that they bear responsibility for the Colorado Springs shooting. He also calls on lawmakers to pass a security bill to provide protection at some of Missouri’s historically LGBTQ+ bars and establishments.