Home News Pink Pistols LGBT gun club triples in size after Orlando

Pink Pistols LGBT gun club triples in size after Orlando

June 28, 2016 at 6:52 am 20 News

Weapons sales and membership in a group calling on gays and lesbians to arm themselves in self-defense against homophobic attacks have surged since the massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida last weekend.

The group, the Pink Pistols, announced last week a tripling in acknowledged members in the five days since a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 in an attack on Pulse in Orlando in the early hours of 12 June.

The Pink Pistols, a gun club predominantly for LGBT members and their supporters, promotes “legal, safe and responsible use of firearms for self defense of the sexual minority community” according to its website.

A senior Pink Pistols member said that if patrons had been armed at the Orlando nightclub they might have prevented the shooting or minimized loss of life.

“I think there is a possibility that it could have prevented it … or helped to make the death toll less. If we could have sent one more person home to their family alive instead of in a body bag that would have been something,” said Gwen Patton, a spokeswoman for the Pink Pistols.

Patton said that membership of the group’s Facebook page had tripled from 1,500 before the Orlando massacre to 4,500 by Thursday. But with no formal registration system or fees for joining the Pink Pistols, there were no reliable membership numbers available for the group itself, she said.

The apparent surge in interest in guns from the LGBT community comes as posters and flags have been reported at a number of locations, including streets in Los Angeles’s gay neighborhood West Hollywood and outside a controversial event in Orlando, depicting a rainbow version of the revolutionary war-era Gadsden Flag – a flag more usually associated with Tea Party conservatives than with gay rights activism.

Some of the Gadsden symbols seen deploy the anti-government slogan “Don’t tread on me” beneath the traditional image of a snake poised to strike, while others have substituted a seeming call to arms via social media, “ #ShootBack ”, on a rainbow-striped background, the color scheme long ago adopted by the gay equality movement.

Meanwhile, gun dealers and firearms trainers in Colorado reported an increase in sales of guns to LGBT customers locally since the Orlando attack, a new twist on the phenomenon of weapons sales and manufacturers’ shares rising after mass shootings and terrorist attacks, often in response to political debate about gun safety.

The Pink Pistols has 45 chapters across the US that generally meet once a month, with members and supporters also in Canada and other countries.

“I was appalled by the killing in Orlando. I was enraged, hurt and saddened, but I know this is not going to be the last [attack],” Patton said.

I was appalled by the killing in Orlando. I was enraged, hurt and saddened, but I know this is not going to be the last

Gwen Patton, a spokeswoman for the Pink Pistols

The Pink Pistols promotes gun-carrying for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as “an act of individual responsibility and as the best tool for getting out of a criminal encounter unharmed”, she said.

The group’s slogan is “Pick on someone your own caliber”, and it issued a statement in the aftermath of the massacre that said the event was “exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies the existence” of Pink Pistols.

“I’m desperately trying to do something to protect who I consider to be my people, who are being targeted and hurt in this fashion,” Patton said.

A member of the group since 2001 and currently involved with the chapter in Philadelphia, Patton said she believed that being trained to carry a gun increased her personal safety “but there are some who disagree with me on that”.

She pointed out that guns were banned from Pulse and the off-duty law enforcement individual who is the only person reported to have fired at the gunman before on-duty law enforcement arrived on the scene had been unable to take down the shooter single-handedly.

“The other people there could not legally have a weapon because the law prevents carrying of firearms in a bar. But I would like to see it changed so that at least if we are not drinking we should be able to carry a gun in a bar,” Patton said.

Patton said the Pink Pistols was founded in 2000 in Boston by a small group of friends, partly in response to an article published on the Salon website by writer and Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Rauch.

Rauch’s article coined the phrase “pink pistols” in the context of urging lesbians and gay people to carry licensed, concealed weapons for protection against gay-bashing of assumed “helpless victims”, and to combat an image of weakness as “the defining stereotype of homosexuality”.

Rauch said on Thursday that his views expressed in the article still stood.

“Being able to rely on ourselves for self-defense is an important part of standing up for ourselves,” he said.

He said that the gay pro-gun lobby and a group like Pink Pistols were generally “different from traditional National Rifle Association-oriented places” and often attracted non-gay supporters who were “uncomfortable with the aggressive all-or-nothing culture of the NRA”.

However, the Pink Pistols Facebook page on Thursday was alive with posts supporting unfettered gun rights and decrying renewed efforts to strengthen gun control or ban powerful assault weapons in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.

Copyright © 2016 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.


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  1. jimwg June 28, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Why is it that most every off-the-wall group is hijacking the color pink? It used to be such a romantically feminine innocent color, just like the name “Gay” was a perky girl’s name and a rainbow meant just a rainbow. Now you can’t hardly find girls named Gay and you can’t strut a color without being regarded as having sympathies to some group or cause!

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    • dontstopthinkinabouttomorrow June 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

      I know, right? Like the color yellow used to connote Easter, and now it’s all about remembering vets. I just found out that orange–my favorite kind of juice!–is used for leukemia awareness. And don’t even get me started about pink. Now they use it for breast cancer awareness! The nerve!

      Why can’t everything remain just as it was when I was ten years old?

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    • ltuser
      ltuser June 28, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Good on these people.. AS many of us said time and time again, till THEY are victims of it, the left will not recognize you need good people with guns to defeat bad people with guns!!!

      As for the whole pick thing.. I agree people have ruined what used to be a good color… BUT imo its not that big of a deal.

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    • Spenser June 28, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Know where you’re coming from. You get more than frowns in many offices if you don’t go along with the program and wear the PC color theme of the week.

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    • dontstopthinkinabouttomorrow June 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Oh Spenser, bless your heart, I was being sarcastic.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser June 29, 2016 at 12:53 am

      That is true Spenser. One of the Navy brats i still keep in contact with, says his Wife (supposedly) got reprimanded by a supervisor for NOT wearing pink on a specific friday to ‘honor breast cancer’.. Her response when asked why not “Sorry, but i only wear pink to church, and if i was gonna honor a cancer, it would be Brain cancer since my grandpa died from it”..
      Seems that wasn’t enough for these libtards.

      I’ve heard of similar incidents elsewhere.

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  2. baitfish June 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Protecting oneself is a right everyone has. Too bad it takes the lgbt to force the media to give it’s tacit approval. You can bet that any other group on earth would not garner this much support for arming themselves from the mainstream media.

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    • dontstopthinkinabouttomorrow June 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      …or this website, for that matter. Can you imagine the apoplectic response on here if a Muslim organization started advocating gun ownership?

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  3. DrGadget June 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I think the Muslim invasion of America will cause the LGBT people to realize they are better off with conservatives than liberals.

    We just want to preach to them and get rid of gay marriage. The liberals will disarm them until they’re all dead. Granted, if libs got smart on the 2nd Amendment, there would be no comparison. But when they don’t allow you to protect your own life, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    Arming yourself is a God-given right. Self-evident truth. Written in the Constitution, paid for in blood.

    I don’t see how anyone should be allowed to hold office when they swear an oath to the Constitution and immediately want to run it through the shredder.

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    • dontstopthinkinabouttomorrow June 28, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      What “Muslim invasion” are you talking about? 83% of Americans identify as Christian, and less than 1% as Muslim.

      How could LGBT people possibly be better off with conservatives who want to take away marriage equality and keep trying to enact laws that eliminate basic civil rights? What are you smokin’, darlin’?

      And where in the Bible does it say “Thou shalt have guns”?

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    • justme33 June 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Open your eyes. Obama is Muslim and sides with Islam. He is bringing in Muslims by the hundreds of thousands,knowing full well the goal of Islam in America is to replace our Constitution (which he hates) with sharia law. The penalty for homosexuality in Islam is death. Liberals have embraced Islam. Most conservatives are Christians, who follow Jesus, who teaches us love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, and helping others. All sin must be forgiven, including homosexuality, but Jesus wants us to pray for sinners. He forbids violence. And the Bible gives us the right to defend ourselves. Guns had not been invented yet.

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    • DrGadget June 28, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Arming yourself is listed in the Constitution as a God-given right.

      In the Bible they mostly used swords. Defense of invaders is of primary importance. What did Abram do when invaders abducted his nephew Lot? He armed his men and declared war.

      Genesis 14:14
      And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

      How about when Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the defensive walls of Jerusalem (sounds familiar) and invaders kept trying to kill them? He armed his men to fight.

      Nehemiah 4:17-18
      They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
      For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.

      What was your misleading question again?

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    • Scruffy-USN-Retired
      Scruffy-USN-Retired June 29, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Sins are forgiven, but one must first repent and ask for forgiveness.
      Jesus Christ suffered the penalty for our sins so that we can repent. Repentance is a change of heart and mind.

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  4. mckbln
    mckbln June 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Armed gays don’t get bashed. I might not agree with the gay lifestyle, I will never accept gay marriage, but I don’t judge or condemn.

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  5. augustawinter June 28, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Good move on the part of the LGBT people. I wonder how the gun control people will handle the Pink Pistols. Catchy name. Proclaim an exception for the LGBT community?

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  6. Douglas Mawby June 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    anyone remember the SNL skit from the late 1980’s – the “Gay, Communist Gun Club”?

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  7. ivanhoe292 June 29, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Yeah, that’s no joke, augustawinter!

    Arming yourself under a specific THEME other then protection is different.

    This isn’t arming yourself because there’s a lot of crime in your neighborhood.
    This is arming yourself because you are a specific target.

    And remember….the LBGT community sees the police as an extension of the straight community.

    Just check out the recent reaction to increased police protection with
    the PRIDE parade.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser June 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Perhaps they should ask the Pink pistols to provide their defense then!

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  8. mckbln
    mckbln June 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Here is a statement that was released by the PinkPistols website after the Orlando shooting:

    Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, an international GLBT self-defense organization, warns people not to jump immediately to the assailant’s guns as the object of blame, but to concentrate instead on Mateen’s violent acts. “The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse,” began Patton. “This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

    I wonder how the gun control left handled that one???

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    • ltuser
      ltuser June 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      Probably so confused about where their loyalties lie, they couldn’t do anything.. On the one hand the left loves promoting the LGBTQ agenda, and on the other they are all rabid anti-gun nuts…

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