Shiloh Gun Range in Houston, Texas has opened their doors to members of the LGBTQ community who want to learn how to defend themselves.

What started as an idea to hold a concealed carry class or two for members of the gay community rapidly ballooned into close to 300 class registrants and more emails and phone calls than the range can keep up with.

Houston local news reported:

One look at his hole-filled paper target and you can see Ryan Thomas is a great shot. He has had his concealed handgun license for two years. Thomas also happens to be gay.

After Sunday’s shooting, he had an idea. He wanted to make sure his LGBT brothers and sisters were protected.

Thomas talked to his friends at the Shiloh Gun Range in northwest Harris County. They are offering free CHL classes to the LGBT community.

Jeff Sanford, the owner of Shiloh Indoor Shooting Range said, “We want to make them aware they can come here, they can feel safe here, they can get their concealed handgun license or their license to carry and they can carry a gun and they can feel good about it.”

Sanford said the offer was not about marketing. He said it was about making an oftentimes vulnerable community feel protected.

“We wanted to reach out to them and say hey, we might not totally understand what’s going on, but we feel for you and this is what we can do to help you out,” Thomas said.

The range’s owner said the response has been the same across the board — many LGBTQ consumers have always wanted to get a gun and a concealed carry license, but never thought they’d be welcome in the gun-loving community. “They’re not arming themselves because they feel like they’re not going to be welcome in our places,” explained Jeff Sanford, “so this gives them the opportunity to finally do that, to finally get armed.”

“This is a very vocal, very passionate 3.8% of our population and we need to take these people and bring them into the fold,” said Sanders. “We need their advocacy; we need every bit of second-amendment advocacy we can possibly get right now.”

NRA Radio’s Cam Edwards chatted with Sanford:

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