CEDAR GLEN, Calif. — The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety grassroots networks, released the following statement on reports of a shooting in which, according to local authorities, Laura Ann Carleton, was shot and killed over a dispute with an individual over a Pride flag she displayed outside her shop.
“We find ourselves yet again confronted with the pain brought about by an act of hate armed with a gun,” said Rudy Espinoza, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are stuck in a vicious cycle where a dispute over a rainbow flag that represents equality and stands against injustice can swiftly escalate into a fatal tragedy. The queer community has lost an ally – but we won’t be silenced. We refuse to accept this reality and we won’t stop fighting until we eradicate hate and gun violence once and for all.”
“This is absolutely devastating. No one should die for who they love – or for standing in solidarity with love,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “When hate is paired with a gun, the results are deadly. And when our elected leaders promote hateful rhetoric and push discriminatory policies, they foster a culture where this kind of violence is the result. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy. In their honor we’ll continue to fight for a world where we’re all able to live and love freely without the threat of gun violence.”
According to a report by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund in collaboration with Human Rights Campaign and Equality Federation, members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to be the target of hate-fueled violence. Lesbian and gay people are more than twice as likely to experience violent victimization as straight people. Transgender people are more than twice as likely to be the victims of violence as cisgender people, and bisexual people are seven times as likely to experience violent victimization as straight people.
In an average year, 3,253 people die and 7,293 are wounded by guns in California. Gun violence costs California $41.9 billion each year, of which $1.1 billion is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in California is available here.