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nicki
08-20-2008, 12:38 PM
August 20, 2008

AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE OF GUNS AND GAY RIGHTS
Pink Pistols Tout Right to Bear Arms As Self Defense Against Hate Attacks
By Rebecca Beyer
Daily Journal Staff Writer

***** SAN FRANCISCO

***** ***** ***** Since its founding in 2000, Pink Pistols has become an active participant in the national debate over gun control. It has opposed gun restrictions nearly across the board and filed amicus briefs in some of the most important firearms litigation in the nation, including June's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that found an individual right to bear arms.
***** The Pink Pistols' cause was highlighted that same month when an anonymous gay man and the National Rifle Association sued the San Francisco Housing Authority. The suit claims the authority's lease, which bans residents from possessing firearms or other weapons, violates the residents' Second Amendment rights and puts the anonymous gay plaintiff at risk: if he can't have a firearm, he can't protect himself from violence directed at him because of his sexuality.
***** ********** The group that would become Pink Pistols got its start at a ranch outside of Boston, when a gay man invited a couple of friends to fire off a few rounds. A couple of weeks later, that man, Doug Krick, happened to read an article in Salon that called upon the gay community to stave off anti-gay violence by arming itself - and declaring itself armed to the world. The writer called his theoretical movement "Pink Pistols." Krick asked for permission to use the name, and a gay gun rights group was born.
***** The group Krick began has been loosely replicated 55 times in 33 states and three countries. California has chapters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alameda, Orange County, Sacramento, San Jose, and San Diego.
***** Along the way, the Pink Pistols have formed an unlikely alliance with the NRA - generally considered a bastion of conservatism - filing briefs in the many of the same cases, including the one resulting in the recent Supreme Court decision. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008 DJDAR 9813). In 2005, the group was part of a coalition that filed an eventually successful appeal in California's 1st District to overturn a San Francisco ordinance banning guns for city residents. Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco, A111928
***** The Pink Pistols argument is simple: limiting Second Amendment rights to those in the military effectively disarms gay individuals who are not allowed to serve in the military; without arms, the LGBT community - often the target of violent hate crimes - is unable to defend itself. Anti-LGBT violence increased 24 percent in 2007 from 2006, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, an LGBT advocacy group. That data comes from 14 member groups around the nation. It includes 2,430 victims reporting violent incidents, 21 of which were murders. The FBI's most recent statistics also show an increase: 1,195 incidents in 2006 compared to 1,017 incidents in 2005.
***** "We're just a group of people that act according to our personal convictions," said Pink Pistols international spokeswoman Gwen Patton, who started the Philadelphia, Pa. chapter. "We try to leverage that as best we can to make our voices heard."
***** On June 27, one day after the Heller decision, the NRA filed a lawsuit in federal court against the San Francisco Housing Authority on behalf of an anonymous gay man who lives in public housing. The suit claims a Housing Authority lease provision banning firearms violates residents Second Amendment rights. Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority, 08-3112
***** According to the complaint, the "plaintiff... keeps a firearm in his home for protection, particularly against perpetrators of sexual orientation-based hate crimes." This is exactly what Pink Pistols members support: Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed, the group's Web site reads.
***** "We want the sex minority community to be able to defend themselves," Patton said. "The best tool... [to do so] is a lawfully armed firearm carried by someone well trained to use it."
***** Tom Boyer started the San Francisco chapter of Pink Pistols in 2001. ***** Like other members, Boyer, 50, believes restrictions on gun ownership should be narrowly tailored rather than broadly applied. In other words, the right to own or carry a gun should be automatic unless you disqualify yourself by committing certain crimes.
***** Boyer, who grew up around guns in Arizona, enjoys shooting for sport. But, he said, he understands the need for guns for self-defense. Boyer said he has been singled out on the streets and verbally attacked for being gay and has felt threatened on more than one occasion.
***** Stephen Mills, co-founder of the Sacramento chapter of Pink Pistols, said he has also been targeted because he is gay. But it was a random and violent home invasion that he said motivated him to join Pink Pistols.
***** A policeman who spoke with Mills after the burglary encouraged him to buy and learn to use a gun.
***** "He said, 'all the thugs in the world know what the sound of a cocking shotgun sounds like,'" Mills remembered.
***** Mills, 58, was wary of training with the NRA. He looked for a gay friendly environment to learn to shoot and found Pink Pistols. Looking back, he said, his assumptions about NRA members were wrong. With few exceptions, he said NRA members have welcomed his group at shoots.
***** Some Pink Pistols members say they face more discrimination from the gay community for their support of gun rights than from the gun community for their sexuality.
***** "Basically, the theory is that gun owners don't care what you do in your bedroom," Krick said. "When it comes down to it, they are more willing to look past the differences to the common ground."
***** A spokeswoman for the NRA said the group fights "for the rights of all law abiding Americans to exercise their inherent civil right to self preservation and protection."
***** "That is something we share with the Pink Pistols and with a variety of other groups," Ashley Varner said.
***** Krick said the leadership in the gay community tends to be aligned with the Democratic Party, which is traditionally supportive of restrictions on gun ownership.
***** "As a result, when they have a pro-gun queer group, they don't always know what to do with us," he said.
***** Jovida Ross is executive director of Community United Against Violence in San Francisco, which works to prevent violence against and within the LGBT population. She said she had heard of Pink Pistols and is wary of their tactics.
***** "Being aware of self defense options... can be very empowering," she said. "But that alone will not prevent hate violence. In general, we would not recommend firearms."
***** Nicki Stallard, 48, leads the San Jose chapter of Pink Pistols. She is a post-operation male-to-female transsexual.
***** She said she spoke on behalf of Pink Pistols at a gun rights convention sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation last year in Kentucky.
***** "The interactions between me and many of the people were fairly positive," she said. "The thing is, when I did the presentation, I focused on what we had in common."
***** Stallard said she and the members of other groups "agreed to disagree" on other matters.
***** Levinger too sometimes agrees to disagree with fellow Pink Pistol members. Although he said he thinks gay couples should have all the rights afforded to heterosexual couples, he believes marriage should be limited to straight couples.
***** His sense of solidarity, he said, is with people who believe in the right to self-defense.
***** Noemi Robinson is another straight Pink Pistols member. The 37-year-old park ranger has two children with her boyfriend but joined Pink Pistols after meeting Boyer while campaigning against San Francisco's gun ban.
***** Robinson said she grew up in a liberal household. So strong was her distaste for guns that she turned down an opportunity to shoot with the national pistol team while interning for the U.S. Olympic Committee. But Robinson said she grew to enjoy shooting after she met her boyfriend, who was in the military. The couple keeps guns in locked safes throughout their house for protection.
***** Robinson said she has a friend who feels uncomfortable around guns.
***** "When she comes over, she says, 'your gun might shoot me,'" Robinson said. "And I say, 'my gun might save you.' You have to think of it both ways."
***** Few issues are as divisive in American society as guns and gays. In becoming participants in the debate over guns, Pink Pistols members became targets - to attacks on their sexuality from conservative gun rights advocates and to attacks on their beliefs about guns from liberal gay rights advocates.
***** Still, most Pink Pistols members seem to feel being caught in the crossfire is worth it.
***** "We are representing a group of people that hasn't had a vocal piece in the gun movement before and exposing the gun movement to a segment of the population that hasn't been there," said founder Krick, who has since moved to Chicago. "I think that's a good thing for democracy. The more people who know what's going on, the more people who are exposed, that's a positive change."
***** San Jose leader Stallard agreed.
***** The Pink Pistols, she said, "knocks both gays and gun owners out of their complacency."

rebecca_beyer@dailyjournal.com
*****

nicki
08-20-2008, 12:50 PM
Had to edit article to make it fit. This is what I cut, decided to post it back.
Jeff, if you are on the forum, sorry about the edit.

Tom, certain things I edited out also, if you are here and didn't get a copy contact me.

Sent to me in e mail, if you send me a pm with your e mail, I will forward unedited copy to you.

Guys, I am really old school when it comes to computers, really. But I learn new things all the time:D

Nicki

* SAN FRANCISCO - Jeff Levinger is a straight shooter.
***** Literally.
***** He's a member of Pink Pistols, a mostly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group that advocates the use of guns for self-defense. But Levinger is straight.
***** He shoots straight too.
***** On a recent Tuesday night at a shooting range in South San Francisco, Levinger aimed carefully with a 9mm handgun and ripped holes near the center X on a target over and over again.
***** Since its founding in 2000, Pink Pistols has become an active participant in the national debate over gun

Tuesdays are National Rifle Association nights at the shooting range, and Levinger, who is also an NRA member, got a discount. He was there to demonstrate his skill - he was on the pistol team at MIT - and to have fun. Wearing ear protection, the father of two grown children shouted instructions to a new Pink Pistol member, stepping carefully over empty shells to demonstrate proper form.
***** Earlier that day, in an interview at a café in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco, Levinger explained why he feels the Second Amendment is worth fighting for. Levinger, who writes about computer programming as an independent consultant, was raised in Chicago and Cincinnati.
***** "I grew up in an environment where it was taken for granted that Americans have a constitutional right to self-defense and to bear arms," he said. "Otherwise, you're at the mercy of the government."
***** He said he was at a pro-Second Amendment event a few years ago and was asked by a Pink Pistols member to join the group.
***** "But I'm not gay," Levinger said.
***** "That's OK," the man answered.
***** "At first I was a little uncomfortable - 'are people going to assume I'm gay,'" Levinger explained, working his way through a spinach crepe. "But then I thought, 'so what, g********, **** 'em if they can't take a joke.'"

Zhukov
08-20-2008, 12:58 PM
I'm glad to see the articles portrayed in a positive light. Thanks for your hard work and your organization's hard work, nicki.

Ding126
08-20-2008, 1:19 PM
This is a good thing. This is what is needed to strengthen the cause for everyone in CA. The more people and groups who are for CCW the better.
IMO

movie zombie
08-20-2008, 1:21 PM
more proof that the 2nd amendment cuts across lines and that we all must be more inclusive and look to what we have in common rather than what we disagree about. thanks for the article.

movie zombie

Sutcliffe
08-20-2008, 1:34 PM
I've never been a fan of that place, but I seem to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Good work. It's better to have friends than enemies.

katphood
08-20-2008, 1:45 PM
How many times have your heard the same story of someone being anti-gun, until they themselves and their loved ones are vulnerable?

BTW, check Ruger's web site for all the colored 10/22s, including pink:

http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdResults?function=famid&famid=39&variation=10/22%AE%20Rimfire&bct=Yes&type=Rifle

WokMaster1
08-20-2008, 3:12 PM
I've never been a fan of that place, but I seem to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Good work. It's better to have friends than enemies.

You got to look at it both ways just like in the article about the ranger's friend who said, "Your gun might kill me" & she said "my gun might save you".:D

Plenty of good & decent people in San Francisco. Just that all the negative things gets all the attention.

M. Sage
08-20-2008, 5:16 PM
Excellent article. I like the part where good things are said about NRA. :D I can practically hear the "whuh? NRA members aren't gay-bashing rednecks!?" coming from people in SF.

ontmark
08-20-2008, 6:42 PM
Thanks for the post

Good Info.

bwiese
08-20-2008, 6:48 PM
Great article/interview.

Now if we can just get that in the Comicle & Mercury News, etc. instead of the little 'independent' rags.

aklon
08-20-2008, 7:44 PM
I first met the Pink Pistols back when NRA called a meeting of MC people and other groups up in Sacramento to fight the coming ban on 50 caliber rifles. (I can't remember the year, but it had to be 2003?)

The PP are serious, and they make people go back and look at some of their assumptions about gun owners.

Plus, NRA is definitely a single issue outfit, and if someone is decidedly pro-gun, who cares about their sex life?

Shotgun Man
08-20-2008, 7:46 PM
I'm glad to see the articles portrayed in a positive light. Thanks for your hard work and your organization's hard work, nicki.

Has it been established that Nicki is part of the Pink Pistols?

I just figured he was forwarding a news article.

bulgron
08-20-2008, 7:49 PM
Has it been established that Nicki is part of the Pink Pistols?

I just figured he was forwarding a news article.

Yes, Nicki is definitely a part of the Pink Pistols.

ETA: She's even mentioned in the article in the OP (Nicki Stallard).

bwiese
08-20-2008, 10:32 PM
Plus, NRA is definitely a single issue outfit, and if someone is decidedly pro-gun, who cares about their sex life?

Correct. The NRA will work, in general, with any other rational group (obvious exceptions like neoNazis or potheads...)

Python2
08-20-2008, 10:39 PM
Yes, Nicki is definitely a part of the Pink Pistols.

ETA: She's even mentioned in the article in the OP (Nicki Stallard).

Yes, indeed. I had the opportunity to join her group at San Jose Range shoot at one time.

FreedomIsNotFree
08-21-2008, 12:43 AM
Fantastic report. I'm particularly impressed with the courage by the PP's to step outside of society's stereotypes and embrace the 2nd Amendment publicly. The article spoke perfectly to my attitude towards homosexuality...I don't care what you do in your bedroom.

It was also nice to see some acknowledgment that the NRA and its members aren't a bunch of back water homophobes intent on murdering "the children".

Thank you Nicki for sharing the article and your perspective.

CoinStar
08-21-2008, 11:35 AM
I can practically hear the "whuh? NRA members aren't gay-bashing rednecks!?" coming from people in SF.

I'm sure you were being facetious, but isn't that sort of a stereotype in and of itself?

On topic, it's always good to see groups that don't typically evoke thoughts of being RKBA supporters, garner some attention for the cause... and the venue (be it an "independent rag" in the opinions of some) doesn't matter. It's still good press.

xrMike
08-21-2008, 11:51 AM
***** Some Pink Pistols members say they face more discrimination from the gay community for their support of gun rights than from the gun community for their sexuality.


Isn't that ironic? :D

Theseus
08-21-2008, 12:17 PM
ALthough I commend the PP for their work and will find any way to support them that I can...what I don't appreciate is (and not their fault) that people won't listen to me when I argue about 2nd A rights because I am a heterosexual white male.

Because I am not gay I am perceived to not be able to be rational and responsible. '

It isn't the fault of the PP...but their existence shows the bias in the media and elsewhere.

Mikeb
08-21-2008, 12:50 PM
ALthough I commend the PP for their work and will find any way to support them that I can...what I don't appreciate is (and not their fault) that people won't listen to me when I argue about 2nd A rights because I am a heterosexual white male.

Because I am not gay I am perceived to not be able to be rational and responsible. '

It isn't the fault of the PP...but their existence shows the bias in the media and elsewhere.

That may be the most important point here. Some think gun owners are a bunch of white guys "clinging to thier guns". Many in the black comunity support "gun restrictions" because it's thier children that have the most risk. This letter from the Pink Pistols is an excelent example that many people live with risk and fear in our neigborhoods and personal responsibility and personal protection is a inherent right and responsibility.
thanks to the PP
Mike

nicki
08-21-2008, 1:17 PM
ALthough I commend the PP for their work and will find any way to support them that I can...what I don't appreciate is (and not their fault) that people won't listen to me when I argue about 2nd A rights because I am a heterosexual white male.

Because I am not gay I am perceived to not be able to be rational and responsible. '

It isn't the fault of the PP...but their existence shows the bias in the media and elsewhere._________________



I totally agree with the above comments and if the media was balanced, this would be the norm.

That being said, the media is titled toward the left. Contact with other Pink Pistol groups across the country shows that for the most part coverage of our groups has been positive. Rarely do we get bad press.

This puts the Pink Pistols in a unique position in that we are probably one of the few gun groups that can get good press in "Liberal areas".

Overall, most members of the pink pistols want to stay out of the spotlight which does present a problem in that few want to be in the public spotlight.

I'm not one of them:D

Most Pink Pistol groups are just shooting groups and shy away from the public spotlight.

Something to consider, the Pink Pistols does not require someone to be LBGT to join our groups nor to be in leadership position our groups. We are an inclusive organization.

The organization of course is open to "growth" and we appreciate people who come in to "lead".

The Pink Pistols is a "Gun Organization", we have no official positions on other "Gay Issues", generally what we have found is our members tend to be either conservative or libertarian in values.

We do get some liberals, but obviously not the knee jerk rabid anti gun types.

Generally the I want to be a helpless victim and want to stay that way type people don't come to our groups.

Of course someone in a Leadership position needs to be aware of other "Gay Issues" and able to articulate positions.

I'm working on alternatives to the current positions many gay rights groups are pushing which would be acceptable to most Americans by the way, but that is another issue.

I'm doing this so that conservatives could lead Pink Pistol groups and articulate positions that would cross the political spectrum.

Nicki

M. Sage
08-21-2008, 1:39 PM
I'm sure you were being facetious, but isn't that sort of a stereotype in and of itself?

Yes, it is, but to a large degree it's accurate. There are some pro-gun people here, to be sure, but over half the city's voters supported banning the mere possession of handguns by residents. That tells me a couple of things: more than half the voters don't own handguns. More than half the voters have no sense of reality when it comes to handguns.

Your average San Franciscan is definitely not pro-gun or probably even a fence-sitter.

Theseus
08-21-2008, 2:27 PM
The organization of course is open to "growth" and we appreciate people who come in to "lead".
Nicki

Then what can I do to help?

KDOFisch
08-21-2008, 2:41 PM
Then what can I do to help?

+1

Is there an LA chapter that's active?

Full Clip
08-21-2008, 2:48 PM
Isn't that ironic? :D

No, because the pressure is coming from the LIBERAL DEMOCRAT members of the gay community.

Full Clip
08-21-2008, 2:50 PM
Yes, it is, but to a large degree it's accurate. There are some pro-gun people here, to be sure, but over half the city's voters supported banning the mere possession of handguns by residents. That tells me a couple of things: more than half the voters don't own handguns. More than half the voters have no sense of reality when it comes to handguns.

Your average San Franciscan is definitely not pro-gun or probably even a fence-sitter.

It's not a "stereotype," it's a generalization based on the action and beliefs of the majority.

nicki
08-21-2008, 3:14 PM
Tom Boyer (SF Pink Pistols) looked at who voted for prop H and who didn't.

What we found in San Fran is that it passed because it passed overwhelming in the tenderloin (alot of crime, minorities, public housing) and in the Castro(Heavy Gay district).

Although it did pass, it only get 58 percent of the vote. Considering that San Fran passed prop 15 in 1982 by around 66 percent and San Fran has gone even more left since 1982, this is significant.

Medical Marijuania for instance got around 78 percent of the vote and this is probably what the anti gunners were expecting, a overwhelming statement against guns.

Alot of Lockstep Liberals didn't walk in Lockstep, they actually looked at the issue and said "wait a minute", engaged their brains and voted No.

What the authors of Prop H did for us is show us where we are weak and where we can reach out to.

A shift of 9 percentage points in public opinion in San Fran would make San Fran gun neutral. If this happens, it will by default move other areas to being more gun neutral, some may even move to being gun friendly.

Pink Pistols is slowly opening up the LBGT community, if other left of center and larger groups come to ther realization that victim disarmanent(VD) is not in their best interest, support for VD will start to erode on the left side of the political spectrum.

As support from the Left erodes for VD, we will by default pick up support from the political center.

Perception will gain us support. As gun owners are percieved as a broad group that crosses the political spectrum, by default we will pick up alot of the political center.

As gun rights are percieved as crossing the political spectrum, fewer elected officials will want to mess with it.

The media will start avoiding the issue also because their advertising departments/stockholders etc will tell them that pushing gun control is alienating advertisers.

Nicki

gordoe
08-22-2008, 12:45 AM
Pink Pistols! Cool group, fighting the good fight!

nicki
08-22-2008, 5:24 AM
I appreciate the offers guys, life is busy, I have life obligations which are limiting my time.

The Pink Pistols is growing, we do have some internal issues, nothing bad, just that we have 50 plus chapters now.

Many members are not political and shun being in the public eye. That isn't me.

I am looking into creating another group to run along side the Pink Pistols, more of a political guerilla activist type group.

That is where I know I will need alot of help.

I figure if you are going to put time into something, make it fun:43:

Nicki

anthonyca
08-22-2008, 10:11 PM
Great group. Its great to see the NRA and PP working together. We need to get the fact out that we are 2nd amd supporters and will support any good people that support this right.