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By MICHAEL K. LAVERS, email@example.com
CLEVELAND – A prominent gun control opponent who supports Donald Trump said on Monday that fewer people would have been killed inside the Pulse nightclub if a club-goer had shot the gunman with their weapon.
“What happened to all those people,” said Jan Morgan, founder of Armed American Women, as she spoke at the “America First” rally in Settlers Landing in downtown Cleveland. “If one citizen had been in that club with a gun, they could have stopped (it.)”
Morgan – who owns a shooting range in Hot Springs, Ark., from which Muslims are banned – had a handgun tucked into her waistband as she spoke to hundreds of people who attended the rally that radio host Alex Jones and GOP operative Roger Stone organized.
“Maybe some people would have died,” said Morgan, referring to the Pulse nightclub massacre. “But the statistics prove that fewer people die in situations where law-abiding citizens have guns.”
Forty-nine people died inside the Pulse nightclub on June 12.
Trump in the days after the massacre suggested that club-goers should be able to carry firearms. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee later backed away from these comments.
A man who was attending Monday’s rally had a semi-automatic machine gun next to him with an American flag placed into its muzzle. Another man who declined the Washington Blade’s request for an interview was holding a large pole with Trump and rainbow flags.
Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, two black Trump supporters from North Carolina who are known as Diamond and Silk on YouTube, did not mention the Pulse nightclub massacre when they spoke at the rally. They did, however, touch upon the so-called Islamic State and immigration.
“When I go up and walk up in your house, ain’t this breaking and entering,” asked Hardaway. “Why the hell hasn’t somebody been arrested for breaking up into America’s house? That’s breaking and entering.”
Hardaway also described Hillary Clinton as a “bitch.”
“We’re not going to let a crook off the hook,” she said immediately after she and Richardson took the stage that overlooked the Cuyahoga River. “You know I hear some say life’s a bitch, that’s why we shouldn’t vote for one. Don’t need one in the White House.”
A handful of Trump supporters taunted a group of protesters who gathered on the street adjacent to the rally. Several police officers broke up a scuffle that broke out between two of them on the sidewalk.
Protester describes Trump as ‘next Hitler’
Many of the protesters who gathered outside the “America First” rally attended an anti-Trump protest that took place earlier in the day near the Cleveland Convention Center.
Cameron Childers, a student at Case Western Reserve University who is originally from Texas, wore a white t-shirt that had the hashtags #BlackTransLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatters written on it. Childers criticized Trump and the Republican Party’s platform during a brief interview with the Blade.
“Their politics are based off of human rights violations,” said Childers. “What Trump stands for and what the RNC stands for is really the oppression of a lot of the people who are out here today.”
Philistine Ayad, a Palestinian American who lives in Cleveland, wore a hijab at the protest.
She told the Blade that she feels “very real fear” when Trump speaks about banning Muslims from entering the country. Ayad added that the billionaire could place them into internment camps if he were elected president.
“Nobody thought that Hitler would go as far as we did,” she told the Blade. “I see Trump as the next Hitler.”
“He’s a fascist for sure,” added Ayad.
Thanks to our National Gay Media Association partner the Washington Blade for this coverage. from Cleveland.