Local shooting range offers free CHL course to LGBT community

HOUSTON – 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.

"We have a right to carry. We have a right to protect ourselves. And it's a different time. We should all know how to do this," Thomas said.

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.

Sanford pointed out that there are many places, including bars, where guns were not allowed. But Thomas said what he learned helped.

"The last thing they want you to do is to pull a trigger. It's how to take care of yourself. Self-awareness," Thomas said.