Survivor of Pulse nightclub massacre is tired of gun violence being ‘normalised’

Lily Wakefield
·2-min read

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, has insisted that it “isn’t impossible to solve” gun violence.

Since the the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which saw 49 mostly Latinx LGBT+ people killed, there have been at least 50 mass shootings in the US, according to GLAAD.

Wolf was one of the survivors of the atrocity and a lead gun reform advocate. Speaking with the podcast LGBTQ&A, produced by The Advocate magazine in partnership with GLAAD, Wolf said: “It’s sad that we’ve almost allowed ourselves to feel like violence is inevitable, especially against young people.

“The reality is not that these things are impossible to solve.

“The reality is not that violence is inevitable because other countries have solved it.

“The reality is that we have allowed our leaders to get away with being not held accountable for their inaction to a place where we have instead normalise the violence instead of forcing them to take action.”

Despite his frustration surrounding the public perception of gun violence, Wolf said there have been some “large” wins in the last few years.

He said: “Think about what candidates running for office are able to say and not say about gun safety reform. [Previously] it was not something that you could show up and talk about and create an issue around.

“And then think about 2018, and where gun safety reform lived in the conversation during a midterm election… Over 40 candidates backed by the NRA lost in the 2018 midterms. That’s massive.”

Thinking back to the Pulse shooting he survived, and why the media “moved on” so quickly without seeing any significant change, Wolf added: “We were too gay and too brown for people to care… When we stood up in front of the camera and asked for action from our leaders, they didn’t see their kids in us.

“We were in a dark, dirty nightclub, gay and brown and doing what we do. And it’s easy for us to feel as other to them.”

But this reaction is what inspired Wolf to fight for gun reform.

He said: “I realised that if people did not step up from our community, the brown LGBTQ voices would be erased from the story. And they were for a long time.”

In 2019, Wolf delivered a speech to Congress about the need for common-sense gun legislation.

In his speech, he called for universal background checks before individuals are able to buy firearms, “extreme risk protection orders” so that people deemed dangerous by law enforcement can have their guns taken away, and the closure of legal loopholes that allow people who have misdemeanour hate-crime convictions to access guns.