The Pink Pistols, whose slogan is “pick on someone your own caliber,” grew from roughly 1,500 members to 3,500 between Saturday and Monday. Dozens of new chapters are also being formed.
“This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this,” Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, communities nationwide are also taking up arms in ways that are surprising some store owners and instructors.
“I think right now because of what happened, people are looking for answers,” Mike Smith, a Denver firearms instructor told his local Fox affiliate. “You walk into a gun shop and you expect to see people, frankly, who look like me. I think we forget we’re a country of all people, not just people who fit that predetermined mold.”
Additionally, stocks in gun manufacturers spiked on Monday, with shares of Smith & Wesson rising 8.5% and Sturm Ruger shares rising 6.9%.
“It’s sad that we must consider such things,” Patton said, “but when there are persons out there who mean us harm, we must find ways to protect ourselves within the law.”