"Thirty-one states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "
--Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000
We did. There are now over 45 Pink Pistols chapters nationwide, and more are starting up every day. We are dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community. We no longer believe it is the right of those who hate and fear gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or polyamorous persons to use us as targets for their rage. Self-defense is our RIGHT.
The Pink Pistols get together at least once a month at local firing ranges to practice shooting, and to acquaint people new to firearms with them. We will help you select a firearm, acquire a permit, and receive proper training in its safe and legal use for self-defense. The more people know that members of our community may be armed, the less likely they will be to single us out for attack. Join us today. It is your RIGHT.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the "Pink Pistols"?
We are a shooting group that honors diversity and is open to all shooters. We help bring new shooters into the practice and provide a fun social environment for all our members. We work to build bridges between the shooting community and other communities, such as those based on alternative sexualities. We advocate the use of lawfully-owned, lawfully-concealed firearms for the self-defense of the sexual minority community.
We teach queers to shoot. Then we teach others that we have done so. Armed queers don't get bashed. We change the public perception of the sexual minorities, such that those who have in the past perceived them as safe targets for violence and hateful acts -- beatings, assaults, rapes, murders -- will realize that that now, a segment of the sexual minority population is now armed and effective with those arms. Those arms are also concealed, so they do not know which ones are safe to attack, and which are not...which they can harm as they have in the past, and which may draw a weapon and fight back.
The Pink Pistols are the ones who have decided to no longer be safe targets. They have teeth. They will use them.
Do I need to be gay to join?
You don't have to be gay to join us, any more than you have to be Black to support civil rights, or be Jewish to support the JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). We include members from the GLBT, Polyamarous, and BDSM communities, but you don't need to be gay or have an alternative sexuality to join and shoot with us. We like to say that we are FOR the sexual minority community, but not exclusively OF it. We welcome anybody.
Do I need to know how to shoot, or have my own equipment?
No, want to make the practice accessible and we are friendly to new shooters. We can give you basic instruction, and on all our range trips you can either rent guns and ammunition or club members will bring extra for you. Of course, this is subject to local laws -- some states or municipalities may restrict loaning of weapons, but we will do our best.
Do I need a Permit to participate?
This will depend on which Pink Pistols chapter you are shooting with. The local people will probably know, but for legal advice of any kind, you should consult an attorney. But a local gun store or range will know as well, they have to, it's their business.
How do I know what's going on with the "Pink Pistols"?
There are several places you can get information. This website will have announcements and press releases at the national level, and we will expand it over time to include more information as we learn what is useful to the chapters and the members at large.
Can I purchase a pistol or other firearm?
In most cases, sure...but there are caveats. Depending on the state you live in, there are steps to be taken to make this legal. Your local gun store will know the specifics. In broad terms, if you are not what the government terms a "prohibited person" -- a felon, a drug addict, a habitual drunkard, someone found to be mentally incompetent/dangerous, or were committed to a mental hospital by a court -- you most likely will be allowed to do so. Different states have different additional criteria on top of the Federal limits. There may be a permit to purchase you will have to apply for, tests you will have to take, training to achieve, or other hurdles to overcome before you would be allowed to actually purchase the weapon. Or your state may be very restrictive, and you might go through all of those obstacles and be denied the opportunity to purchase a gun after all.
We don't like that you can go through a lot of hoop-jumping and still not be allowed to buy a gun in some states, but that's how it is right now. They use the long, convoluted, and frequently expensive procedure to discourage people from buying guns in some states. It's not right, and many are fighting it, but for now, that's the case. But some states are very reasonable -- they go by the Federal limits, you show a drivers' license, fill out a form, they run a Federal instant-check on you, and if you come back clean, you buy your gun. It all varies state-by-state. The others in your chapter will know, and of course, a local attorney will know.
What kind of gun is right for me?
Only you can say for sure, but anyone who has any clue about firearms will tell you to start by renting. Rent several and try different makes and models of firearm with varying calibers. Most important, start with a light caliber. For a first time shooter, the muzzle flip and recoil can be a bit of a surprise. There is no shame in building up to something you're sure you can tolerate. Besides, the primary concern here is safety. Biting off more than you can chew with a firearm can be very dangerous. If you need help in finding what's right for you there will be people there to help.
I've never touched a gun before. How will I know how to shoot it?
Ask. Please don't feel embarassed that you might be asking a "stupid" or "lame" question. There's no such thing. Ask the others in your chapter. If you've never fired a weapon before, please let us know in advance. It's better to learn the right way to load, unload, and fire a weapon, than to learn the hard way.
If you're not with an established chapter -- say, you're starting a chapter and you're doing this on your own, you should ask the people at the local gun store where you would buy your gun if they have training available. If they do, get as much as you can possibly afford. But best case, you should have a chapter to help you.
Why is your group an "Activists Association"?
We want to be able to endorse candidates (we've done that in the past, though we aren't doing that right now) that will support the Second Amendment as well as the rights of consenting adults to love each other how they wish however they wish. We also chose to go this route, rather than filing as a PAC because it means we are free of the legal paperwork PAC's are required to file.
Are you part of the NRA?
No. Although we do work with the NRA. For example, in California the NRA-ILA contacted us and asked us to take a look at some legislation before the State Assembly and submit written testimony with our take on the bills. We also worked with the NRA when we submitted our amicus brief on the D.C. v Heller case before the Supreme Court. On the other hand, many of our members dislike the NRA due to the positions they have taken, such as helping push through "Instant Background Checks" on a federal level. But as to whether we are an "associate" group of the NRA, no, we are not. We can't be, because we do not have an elected Board of Directors and other necessary structural elements the NRA requires for associated groups.
Are you associated with a political party?
No. We are strictly non-partisan. If the responses to our questionnaires looks slanted, it is because only some people who receive the questionnaire respond. For example, each time when copies were emailed to everyone elected to the Massachusetts State House and Senate, only 1 politician responded.
I like this idea, but I'm not in the area. How do I start a local group?
Contact Gwen Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We have rewritten the "New Chapter E-Book", and renamed it the Pink Pistols Utility Manual. It is highly recommended that individuals find a couple of friends to assist them before they start the process of opening a chapter. Due to problems in the past with viability, we no longer open chapters with a single founding member. Please have at least two or more before asking to open your chapter.
Also, please note: You do not have to be a citizen or resident of the United States to start a chapter. If you live elsewhere, you are still welcome to form a chapter. We just require that you follow all applicable laws in your jurisdiction.