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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Poe: The LGBT community can move the needle on gun laws



Democratic congressional candidate and former state Democratic Party Chairman Bob Poe attended the vigil in Orlando late Monday to remember the 50 people killed in a massacre in a gay night club.

"It’s hard to wrap my mind around it," Poe said. "You never think that something like this would happen in Orlando. It’s unimaginable."

Last week, Poe announced he is HIV-positive. He said he hoped to bring awareness to those living with the illness.

Now, in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, he said he had another cause to champion.

“One of the thoughts that is occurring to me, (is that) we’ve seen the political power that the LGBT community has had over the years, how it moved the needle very quickly on its own civil rights, DOMA, marriage equality,” he said. “I’m wondering if, what good can come out of this, is that we can be the catalyst that finally moves the needle on sensible gun safety (laws) and assault-weapons bans. If we galvanize our community, can we move it forward?”

Poe pointed out that the LGBT community stretches acros the country.

“We’re used to activism,” he said. “We know how to operate in the political arena. We know how to get things done. Can we channel that into this effort now?”

Poe is optimistic.

“The people at Sandy Hook apparently couldn’t do it. The people in Aurora couldn’t do it. The people in Charleston couldn’t do it. But can the LGBT community at large around this country, could we do it? The answer is yes, we could.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 9:22am]


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