Orlando mass shooting prompts nightclub safety questions

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- This weekend's mass shooting in Orlando sent chills throughout the nation, including the Mid-South.

It has people talking about safety at nightclubs, particularly those that cater to the LGBT community.

"We stand together not only as a community, but as a city, because we're just a neighborhood bar," said Dru's Place owner Tami Montgomery.

Dru's Place is home to many in the Memphis LGBT community.

Montgomery said there is not much her bar could change in terms of security.

"There's no way to prepare for it. I mean, I can't get on the phone and call President Obama and say, 'Please, dispatch the National Guard to sit outside my building,'" she said.

Montgomery said she already has someone monitoring the parking lot and somebody at the door.

Pulse Nightclub in Orlando had a security guard, an off-duty police officer in uniform, but that did not stop the shooter.

Montgomery is a gun owner but wonders if the answer to securing clubs could start with looking at how the Orlando shooter got his assault rifle.

"I'm not someone who lives in fear. I mean, if it's going to happen, then it's going to happen, and we'll just have to deal with the situation the best that we could," Montgomery said.

Sunday, a co-owner of The Pumping Station told WREG his LGBT business is considering expanding security efforts.

"Maybe we need to think about doing this, maybe we need to think about, you know, hiring an external security guard. You know, should there be panic buttons?" Steve Murphy said.

While the attack happened at a club serving the LGBT community, the violence has others in Memphis concerned about nightclub safety in general.

WREG has reported on at least six shootings at Memphis bars or clubs in 2016.

Silky O’Sullivan's owner Joellyn Sullivan understands customers' fears.

She is thankful bars and clubs on Beale Street have the advantage of security checkpoints, where officials recently beefed up security.

"Anybody that would choose to come to Beale Street with bad acting in mind is going to come into contact with Memphis Police Department first, and I think that's a tremendous deterrent as opposed to an enclosed building," Sullivan said.

Shelby County Office of Preparedness Director Dale Lane told WREG on Live at 9 Monday morning that customers can identify the nearest exits and remain alert when they go out somewhere.

"Basically, we teach three simple techniques. It's run, hide, fight," Lane said regarding active shooter situations.

Like Montgomery, Lane said the community should not let fear win out.

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