WARNING: Graphic descriptions of mass shootings

It was sometime in the early morning in Orlando, Florida, on the second Sunday of Pride Month. People were dancing to the Latin beat bouncing off of speakers when suddenly there were loud banging noises.

At first, they thought it was just part of the show. But then the music stopped and the lights came on. There, in the doorway, stood a man with guns. He started shooting, and people screamed and ran for cover.

The gunman used two guns, a Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a Sig Sauer MCX.

The Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol has a standard magazine capacity of 17 rounds and is commonly found in gun stores across the country.

The Sig Sauer MCX was initially meant to fire a round called a .300 Blackout, but it is able to shoot the same caliber ammunition as an AR-15. The MCX was designed to provide Special Operations Command with a bullet that was as quiet as a pistol round but packed the range and lethality of a rifle cartridge.

The key difference between the standard AR-15 series of rifles and the MCX is the operating system used to mechanically propel the bullet from the gun and cycle the next round to be fired.

Either way, 49 people were killed and 53 people were injured before the gunman was fatally shot by the police. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history until the Las Vegas shooting in 2017.

The Pulse shooting that took place on June 12, 2016, was a horrific tragedy that claimed the lives of innocent people. It was a hate crime, and it was an attack on the queer community. We also heard stories of resilience and hope and strength as the community marched and held vigils and rebuilt, but still. The damage was done.

That wasn’t the first or the last time mass shootings in the US happened.

  • 2016:
    • July 7, 2016: 3 people were killed and 2 were injured in a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
    • December 2, 2016: 2 people were killed and 2 were injured in a mass shooting at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California.
  • 2017:
    • January 6, 2017: 5 people were killed and 2 were injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.
    • February 14, 2017: 17 people were killed and 14 were injured in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
    • October 1, 2017: 58 people were killed and 546 were injured in a mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 2018:
    • February 14, 2018: 17 people were killed and 14 were injured in a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
    • November 7, 2018: 12 people were killed and 7 were injured in a mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks, California bar.
  • 2019:
    • August 3, 2019: 23 people were killed and 23 were injured in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
    • September 27, 2019: 3 people were killed and 9 were injured in a mass shooting at a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 2020:
    • March 15, 2020: 10 people were killed and 26 were injured in a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
    • August 31, 2020: 9 people were killed and 2 were injured in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • 2021:
    • January 23, 2021: 5 people were killed and 10 were injured in a mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
    • April 16, 2021: 8 people were killed and 13 were injured in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
    • September 1, 2021: 10 people were killed and 2 were injured in a mass shooting at a grocery store in King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado.
  • 2022:
    • February 14, 2022: 10 people were killed and 3 were injured in a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
    • April 14, 2022: 14 people were killed and 17 were injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.
    • May 14, 2022: 21 people were killed and 17 were injured in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The gun death rate in the United States is much higher than in other developed countries. More than 43,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States. This is a human rights crisis that needs to be addressed. The United States is an outlier when it comes to firearm violence among wealthier, developed countries.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, but the country has seen a surge in gun violence in the last decade with mass shootings using assault rifles becoming more and more common.

Around half of Americans (48%) see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today. A record-high 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. gun laws, marking a seven-point increase over the past year.

Roughly half of Americans (53%) favor stricter gun laws. This includes a ban on assault weapons. A study released in 2018 by RAND Corporation found that a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines could reduce the number of mass shootings and deaths.

AR-15-style rifles are considered to be particularly deadly firearms. Here are some reasons why:

And still, we’ve done nothing. Big surprise for a country that doesn’t believe in facts.

Countries with strict gun laws have fewer mass shootings. The United States has the highest rate of mass shootings among developed countries. This is due to the country’s loose regulations on guns. Countries like Japan and Australia have strict gun laws and have fewer mass shootings

Universal background checks are supported by the vast majority of Americans. 83% of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of all firearms, including 72% of all NRA members.

Sandwiched between the Pulse and Virginia Tech & Columbine massacres, there was Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago who was shot and killed in a park about a mile from President Obama’s home in a South Side neighborhood in 2013.

She was an honors student and a majorette who had performed at events surrounding President Obama’s inauguration. Her death intensified the gun debate in the United States. Her death was a tragedy that highlighted the need for gun reform in the United States.

But she was killed in 2013, and ever since her death, we still saw more deaths, including those of young kids. These children lost an unfair fight against guns, a fight that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, especially not in a developed country that’s not riddled with wars.

Pendleton’s birthday is June 2. Today, we wear orange to honor her and other victims of gun violence. Her friends started the Wear Orange campaign after her death in 2013. The color was chosen because it’s the color hunters wear to protect themselves and others from harm. I wonder if she’d worn orange that day, would she have been killed all the same? Yes. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

I don’t understand this fascination with guns, especially assault rifles.

Why does anyone need a killing machine? I tell you why: because they want to kill. Because they want death. And they don’t care whether it’s an animal or a human child.

But they’re too proud, too blind, too stupid, too damaged to realize that the pain they’ll inflict is real. Or maybe, they know it all too well.

I don’t believe in thoughts and prayers. I believe in fighting back.

Dollsexposed showcases queer erotica, kink, fetish, and activism through twelve-inch doll photography.

Their adventures in the doll world began in 2011 before establishing a home on dollsexposed.com eleven years later.

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