|Type||Gun rights, LGBT|
Inspired by a Salon.com article written by Jonathan Rauch, Krikket (aka Doug Krick), a libertarian activist from Illinois while living in Massachusetts, founded the Pink Pistols in July 2000. The organization had at least 45 chapters, as of October 2014. Those chapters are located in 33 states and three countries that are principally made up of gun-owning LGBT individuals, though neither status is mandatory for membership.
The political orientation of the Pink Pistols is considered unusual due to the popular perception in the United States of firearms ownership as a "conservative issue" and sexuality as a "liberal issue". However, there is nothing within either of these two single issues that is mutually exclusive and a variety of other pro-gun organizations exist for groups not typically associated with gun rights (for example, the "Democrats for the Second Amendment").
Pink Pistols' activities include firing range visits and political activism. The group occasionally produces report cards on politicians, rating their position on issues of interest to members. According to pinkpistols.org:
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.
The Pink Pistols' symbol consists of an overhead view of a picto-person aiming a handgun in an isosceles stance superimposed on a pink triangle. The pink triangle, now a gay pride and gay rights symbol, was originally a badge that homosexual concentration camp victims were forced to wear during the Holocaust.
According to spokesperson Gwen Patton, "We don't want people to hurt us, we want people to run away from us, and the best way we have found to do that is to be armed." Patton has also stated that, "the Pink Pistols tend to get a better response from firearms supporters than from homosexuals".
The group's membership increased from 1,500 to 4,500 in the week after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. As of June 24, 2016, the membership is over 7,000, and there are 36 chapters around the country. The group experienced a further rise in interest following Donald Trump's election to the presidency later that year. By April 2017, the group claimed a membership of over 9,000.
On September 23, 2018, trans woman Erin Palette became the new president of the Pink Pistols.
In January 2020, winner of Season 4 of the History Channel show Top Shot, Chris Cheng (the first openly gay man to win the contest), joined the Board of Directors of Operation Blazing Sword/Pink Pistols (two gun rights-LGBT organizations that merged in 2018).
- McKay, Holly (October 1, 2014). "Gay gun activists: Growing LGBT push to support the Second Amendment". Fox News.
- Rauch, Jonathan (March 14, 2000). "Pink Pistols". Salon. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012.
- "About The Pink Pistols". Pink Pistols.
- Berger, Knute (October 9, 2006). "Gays & guns". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- Marech, Rona (February 3, 2005). "San Francisco / Gay group defends right to arms / Pink Pistols oppose ballot issue backed by supervisors". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Miranda Chance, Bradleigh (June 18, 2016). "LGBT Gun Rights Group Sees Membership Spike After Orlando Shooting". NBC News. Archived from the original on December 18, 2016.
- "LGBT Self-Defense Site 'Pink Pistols' Gains Followers After Orlando Massacre". NPR.org. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- "Why US liberals are now buying guns too". BBC. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017.
- Kwong, Matt (April 2, 2017). "Trump 'gave hate groups a megaphone': Gun sales surge among LGBT, minorities in the U.S." CBC News. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017.
- "Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols Merger Press Release.pdf". Google Docs.
- Billings, Jacki. "Top Shot Champion Chris Young Joins Pink Pistols Board of Directors". www.guns.com/. Guns.com. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
- Official website
- Murdock, Deroy. "Coming Out of the Closet: These guys won’t be victims", National Review (July 1, 2002), via Archive.org