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6 years 1 week ago, 4:28 PM

samD

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Gays and guns

Gays and guns

Atlanta’s Pink Pistols aim for acceptance in a community often opposed to firearms

By DYANA BAGBY
DEC. 19, 2008

Atlanta Pink Pistols

www.pinkpistols.org
atlanta@pinkpistols.org

Mark Nichols distinctly remembers being in his gym’s empty parking lot at night when a man who had followed him out after his workout started shouting anti-gay epithets at him.

“He told me he was sick of faggots being in the gym,” said Nichols, 48, of Atlanta.

What kept Nichols calm was the handgun he kept in his gym bag that he was legally entitled to carry with a permit.

“The guy wanted to beat me up. I told him he was making a mistake. I just told him that. I had no concern I was going to get hurt. And the guy left me alone,” he said.

Nichols never pulled out his gun, but apparently the would-be gay basher picked up a vibe. And that’s all Nichols wanted to do, he said — to let the angry man who had just called him a “faggot” know he wasn’t going to back down and that he was ready to defend himself.

“I never pulled my gun, but having it made a difference,” he said. “Gay people are seen as easy marks. Samuel Colt makes us equal.”

Nichols, a computer specialist in Chamblee, is a member of Atlanta’s chapter of the Pink Pistols, a national organization founded in 2000 that cites approximately 59 chapters in 33 states and three countries. While created for gay gun enthusiasts, the organization does not require members to be gay.

Kurt Martin, 40, a heterosexual attorney living in metro Atlanta, said he joined the Pink Pistols to seek their help in fighting gun control legislation in Georgia.

“[W]hile the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community faces extra risks in the form of hate crimes based on sexual orientation, my main interest is looking out for the rights of the smallest minority — the individual citizen. A minority of one,” he said.

The Atlanta chapter of the Pink Pistols originally formed in 2005 but survived only one organized meeting. The current incarnation of the local chapter began several months ago; it has five to ten members who correspond via the internet and meet up regularly at a firing range in Norcross to target shoot.

The Pink Pistols’ slogans are “Armed gays don’t get bashed” and “Pick on someone your own caliber,” but local members stress they focus on teaching proper shooting skills and safety above everything else. Plus, they do fight and lobby to remove what they consider strict gun laws from the books.

Georgia’s General Assembly passed a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons into restaurants, in state parks, and on public transportation that went into effect July 1, 2008. Atlanta’s Pink Pistols members strongly favored the bill, which they say sometimes put them at odds with a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community that tends to favor gun control.

“That’s a quandary we find ourselves in,” said Sean Anderson, 24, the event coordinator of the Atlanta Pink Pistols who got the most recent reincarnation the local chapter started back up over the summer. “If we speak out on gun ownership, that doesn’t mean we are endorsing the Republican Party. We want to show another side to the stereotypical gun owner.”

GAYS AGAINST FIREARMS

Anderson, who lives in the suburbs and works in IT, described himself as “not a traditional gay person.” He has a girlfriend but sometimes presents himself in his female persona, Anna, in public, because, he said, he doesn’t believe in the gender binary. And packing — or carrying a concealed weapon — both as Anna and Sean makes him feel safe.

While the Pink Pistols strongly support repealing gun control laws, the organization is non-partisan. The group does seek to support local, state and federal lawmakers who support gun rights but who also support the right for same-sex relationships.

“We want to be able to endorse candidates that will support the Second Amendment as well as the rights of consenting adults to love each other however they wish,” states the Atlanta’s Pink Pistols website.

“Gun control laws only affect law abiding citizens,” Anderson said. “The gun control laws we see disarm people who are respectful of the law. I realized there was danger in suburban Atlanta as well and if I was made in my female form, as Anna, I could be in trouble. That’s why I bought a Smith & Wesson lightweight revolver that I can carry, even in my male form.”

There have been several headline-grabbing anti-gay hate crimes this year in the U.S., most recently the baseball bat beating of Ecuadoran immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay in New York. The attack by a group of thugs who
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DYANA BAGBY

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Atlanta Pink Pistols

www.pinkpistols.org
atlanta@pinkpistols.org

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shouted anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets was the latest in a number of reported assaults, according to the New York Anti-Violence Project, which coordinates organizations that document violence against gay and HIV-positive people. Sucuzhanay, 31, was left brain dead and died Dec. 12. He was not gay but was seen walking arm-in-arm with his brother after leaving a church party.

Kim Fountain, the deputy director of AVP, is familiar with the Pink Pistols and the group’s mission, but believes violence cannot be answered with more violence.

“We oppose the death penalty, we say no to the use of weapons — we are anti-violence,” she said. “If someone from the Pink Pistols feels they have to arm themselves to be safe … we can’t agree. Most often, we find, their weapons are used against them.”

AVP instead advocates safety measures such as pairing up when walking in unfamiliar areas and being informed of a person’s whereabouts, Fountain explained.

“But at the end of the day, a person will do what makes them feel safe,” she said. “What it comes down to is how one understands the issue of violence.”

GUN ONLY ‘A TOOL’

Braxton Bragg, 22, of Marietta, works at a data center and carries his H&K USP Compact .40 caliber handgun on the job. He found out about the Pink Pistols while listening to Sirius OutQ Radio and did a Google search to find out if Atlanta had a chapter.

“In the gay community as a whole, I’ve seen a fear of guns, the attitude, ‘I don’t want to touch it,’” he said.

With the Pink Pistols, he’s found other gay people who share his love for guns and target shooting.

Anderson said he understands there will always be those who object to people carrying a concealed weapon when they eat at Applebee’s, for example.

“We want to demystify it and take out the Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd aspect and make it clear guns are not toys, these are grown-up tools,” he said.

For Justin Wong, 26, an openly gay police officer in metro Atlanta, the stigma attached to guns and gun owners needs to be erased.

“A gun is only a tool,” he said. “Firearm education is important. People who are law-abiding carriers are very respectful to law enforcement and responsible in their community. The media tends to portray people with guns as bad guys or good guys, like super heroes. But not the regular person.”

And do the members of the Pink Pistols wish victims of anti-gay hate crimes, such as the man in New York, were carrying a firearm at the time?

“A gun has only so much ammunition,” Wong stressed. “It’s hard to judge a situation and this is oversimplifying the issue. If someone had a gun and was trained, a crime may be averted. But you can do everything right and a gun is still not always a failsafe option.

“It’s important to be acutely aware a gun can be a great benefit, but also a great liability,” Wong added.

Anderson agreed that owning and carrying a gun is not a “license to seek danger, to kill” and is always only to be used as the final option.

But he has two thoughts when he hears about a gay bashing.

“One, I wish the world was a more tolerant place. Two, I realize it’s not,” he said.

While gun ownership and laws will likely continue to be a hot topic in the political arena, even in the gay community, Wong said the two can come together.

“You don’t have to be that extreme right-wing stereotype to have a gun,” he said. “You can be both a gun owner and gay.”

...

6 years 1 week ago, 6:55 PM

Ebear

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reaper 308

you see, now you and syta can come out of the closet

...check... G-AZ
6 years 1 week ago, 7:00 PM

coldfront

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i bet they only use 22. i mean can their limp wrists handle a 9mm or anything higher well except for the dykes on bikes clan. but what do you think the most fabulous feng shwai <---- whatever gun is

Confucious say: Go to bed itchy asshole, wake up stinky pinky
6 years 1 week ago, 8:37 PM

DEMO

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Fucking Fagotts

I have not problem with the gays doing their thing. I know a bunch of them. Some are cool, just happen to be gay. The assholes I hate want to just tell everyone about their fagness. The whole conversation with these guys are about how my church is bad, guns are bad, and the US is a appresive nation. Can we just respect each other as Americans- reagrdless of what you are into you be you......

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
6 years 5 days ago, 9:52 AM

samD

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trying to protect themselves from harm. Gay or straight we all need to fight the good fight. This group is National in scope and are well informed on the subject matter. They produce pamphlets that they leave around dispelling the anti-gun facts. They also highly educate on FIJA, which everyone of us must do to keep this runaway government in check.

6 years 4 days ago, 2:18 PM

EricStanford

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i have no love of homosexuals...had to fight of too many of 'em growing up.
i was politically neutral until a few years ago when it hit me about the part they are playing in dismantling our constitution and American system of law. The ACLU was started by homosexuals and communists...is now run by very vocal fags: a reference they have successfully vilified via "political correctness"

Years ago they would 'closet' their activities...discretely swapping body fluids with carefully picked willing partners, or unsuspecting drunks, or naive or emotionally susceptible children...and otherwise keep their place in the shadows of society...

now they not only want "the right" to swap fluids whenever and where ever they choose...but demand that we all watch in gleeful support...

Fags are at the base of the careful dismantling of our system of government: Barny Franks high among the leaders, the ObamaNation team close behind...they are using the power of "political correctness", "executive fiat", and Judicial law making (replacing elected representative legislators)...by forwarding progressive socialism, they helped engineer the ObomaNation team...now we have to deal with the change they accomplished...

Interesting term "fag".
It means "cigarette" = something destined to burn...
it also means "log (firewood) " = something destined to burn...
it also means 'pledge, or initiate, underling'... like a newbie in an organization, someone understood to be under fire of 'superiors' during an initiation period...
all of above are somewhat in harmony with biblical pronouncement of destiny of homosexuals...fags are all destined to burn...

Let Freedom Ring Now is the time for all good men to up for our constitutional USA and against Progressive Socialist takeover!!!!!!!!!!
6 years 4 days ago, 10:14 AM

raffycanlas

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gays and guns

just read my signature, lol, but seriously, thats cool with me, but theyll just keep talkin and forget its time to shoot the damn pistol.

I'm just another damn yankee with a loaded gun looking for some fun!
6 years 4 days ago, 10:15 AM

raffycanlas

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oh btw

gays cant have guns, cuz they will rape any man they think is attractive and will rob each and every salon/beauty shops lol.

I'm just another damn yankee with a loaded gun looking for some fun!

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