In June of 2016, in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, Erin Palette (a trans woman and a good friend of mine) formed Operation Blazing Sword. Its purpose was to assist LGBT people who were interested in arming themselves for their own defense.
The problem many LGBT faced was that, thanks to the way the media have portrayed gun owners and gun groups, they didn’t know what kind of reception they would face, who they could trust, for learning even the basics.
That’s what Operation Blazing Sword is all about. Erin started collecting volunteers, people willing to offer their time and expertise to help people interested in learning safe gun handling with the idea of being able to defend themselves. I was one of the first group of those volunteers.
There was just one thing we had in common: your lifestyle, your religion, your politics, your sexuality and gender, none of these matter. We do not judge. All that matters is that you want to learn a bit about guns and about safe gun handling.
As volunteers, what we offer is basic instruction in firearms safety. If you wish to buy one we can assist and advise. We will also take you to the range at our own expense including ammunition so you can try one or more handguns and get started on learning gun handling.
Since its founding, OBS has grown. Recently, it merged with the earlier gay/lesbian gun-rights group “Pink Pistols” (with the slogan “Armed gays don’t get bashed.”) Erin has continued to do excellent work promoting the cause of personal safety through armed self defense.
In the wake of recent events, I’d also like to point out that OBS may have started for the cause of reaching out to LGBT who might have been uncertain of a friendly reception in the gun-owners community, its hand is out to other groups as well, Jew or Gentile, Christian, Heathen, or Atheist. Anyone interested and legally able to possess firearms is welcome. All we ask is a desire and willingness to learn.
You can find OBS instructors on the interactive map here. Some are actual certified instructors, others are simply individuals with considerable firearm experience, a solid grasp of the fundamentals, and a willingness to be patient with beginners.
If you want to learn we’re here for you. And we will not judge.