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The Abbey May Hire Armed Guards In Response To Orlando Shooting

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(Photo by Chris Loghry via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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The Abbey, arguably one of West Hollywood’s most popular and enduring gay clubs, says they are considering hiring armed guards following the shooting in Orlando. The Abbey Food & Bar beefed up security on Sunday during L.A. Pride, appointing 36 security guards, including armed guards at each entrance, the L.A. Times reports.

Brian Rosman, a spokesperson for the bar, said they may do this more often.

"We're going to talk more with the sheriff and City Hall to figure out the appropriate safety precautions," Rosman said.

Abbey owner David Cooley said that he thinks this could be a change for many bars, "to take extra steps to make sure our guests feel very safe," according to the Daily News.

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It's already standard protocol to check the bags and oversized coats of anyone entering the club, just to make sure they're not trying to bring anything harmful inside. The bar was on high alert on Sunday during Pride celebrations, which kicked off just hours after an Indiana man was arrested in Santa Monica with three guns and explosives in his car. The man told officers he was headed to Pride, but his intentions are yet unclear. At 3 p.m., the bar held a moment of silence for the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting.

The Abbey first opened in 1991 as a coffee shop, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It served as a community space for activists, as well as a safe haven for the gay community. Actor Hal Sparks told THR that the coffee shop was across the street from Barney's Beanery which, up until 1985, featured a sign that read, "Fagots [sic] Stay Out." Barney's would eventually get new owners, who would issue an apology in 2005. And the Abbey would eventually move into the large space you'll find in WeHo today.