LGBT Gun Rights Group Speaks Out After Orlando Shooting

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SACRAMENTO -- One local gay gun rights group said they're getting a lot of new members in the past 48 hours.

"We got about 145 people in our group right now. I've had six requests to join in the last day and a half," said Deanna Sykes, whose email inbox has been filling up the past two days.

That's because she runs and founded the Sacramento Valley Pink Pistols, a group dedicated to training members of the LGBT community to use firearms for self defense.

"I am not going to be one of those people who second guesses the police, they did their best on that, they came in, they took out the bad guy, but they're not everywhere. We can't really count on the police to protect us when we need to be protected," Sykes said.

Sykes believes arming what she calls the sexual-minority community is the best way to protect it, pointing to the Orlando attack as a perfect example.

"Best way to lose a gun fight is to show up to one without a gun... Would it have made a difference yesterday? It might have. Would it have made a difference if  5 percent of the people in that club were armed? Yeah probably," Sykes said.

But she says there are challenges like gun-free zones, which make carrying firearms into movie theaters and nightclubs forbidden. She said because of that, many in the LGBT community are left with a Catch 22.

"In different places people have been prosecuted for using their legally owned firearm when they weren't allowed to have it," Sykes said.

But for now, Sykes' biggest fear is finding out someone she knows was at The Pulse, the club in Orlando where the attacks happened.

Considering her connection to that part of Florida, it is a real possibility.

"I lived in Orlando for 10 years, and I grew up about 45 minutes from there, and I am still waiting to hear if any of my friends were killed or injured," Sykes said.

The Sacramento Valley Pink Pistols is welcoming new members.