• Gays with Guns and Pink Pistols at the Long Beach Pride Parade in 2014. (Gays with Guns / Facebook.)Source: Gays with Guns / Facebook.
"It's because of the election. They're afraid the country is going back in time."
By
Chloe Sargeant

4 Apr 2017 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2017 - 4:44 PM

While the pro-gun LGBTQIA community may not be a majority voice in the gun rights debate, they're certainly there - and the numbers are reportedly growing. 

Evan Fowler, an openly gay 22-year-old Texan college student, is the leader of the Dallas chapter of the Pink Pistols - a gun-rights club for the LGBTQIA community. 

In a profile published by CBC News, Washington correspondent Matt Kwong describes Evan Fowler as a Bernie Sanders supporter with a Human Rights campaign sticker on the back of his car. 

Fowler says that gun ownership - and interest in firearms in general - is currently soaring in the LGBTQIA community and minority groups.

The Pink Pistols were inspired by an article run by Salon in 2000, in which author Jonathon Rauch stated that "if it became widely known that homosexuals carry guns and know how to use them, not many bullets would need to be fired. In fact, not all that many gay people would need to carry guns, as long as gay-bashers couldn't tell which ones did." 

The Pink Pistols website still states, "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 now, a segment of the sexual minority population is now armed and effective with those arms."

Fowler seems to agree, telling CBC, "I feel like if we let people know we're doing what we can to protect ourselves, there's less of a perception that we're soft targets."

A non-partisan group, the Pink Pistols boast around 10,000 members across the United States, and national organisers say they've noticed large bumps in membership in the aftermath of two events: the first being the devastating massacre at Orlando LGBTQIA nightclub Pulse in June of 2016, and second being the appointment of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

Fowler says that many of the previously abandoned Pink Pistols chapters were resurrected over the last year, particularly since November - he revived the Dallas chapter two days after the US election himself.

While rates of gun sales are actually decreasing in general (some reports state that this is due to 'panic-buying' during a Democrat leadership being pacified by a conservative government coming into power), but gun sellers have reported unusually high sales from "non-traditional buyers": minority groups such as LGBTQIA people, racial minorities and women have all reportedly been purchasing more guns than ever. 

Much of the reason for this rise in gun ownership in minorities appears to be driven by fear. CBC reports that Jeigh Johnson, a black woman who is married to another woman, says as she is shopping around for her first AR-15, "It's the political climate. One of my friends said, 'Our president… gave hate groups a megaphone.'"

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A firearm instructor and gun salesman from Cleveland, Kevin Jones, said that he'd noticed sales "three to four times what [it] is normally for African-Americans", and added that he'd also noticed far more Latinx and women requesting classes for concealed-carry of firearms too.

Another gun seller, Michael Cargill from Austin, Texas, told CBC that "a group representing 100 black women" contacted him asking for firearm lessons, saying, "They said it's because of the election. They're afraid the country is going back in time."

CBC also spoke to Tim [surname withheld], who is a 37-year-old gay man from Plano, Texas. He told the news outlet that hate groups are "emboldened in Trump's America" and he wants to protect himself. He believes he cannot depend on local politicians or the Department of Justice: "[They] would have no problem with people going out and beating up a f*g".

However, Pink Pistols' national leader Gwendolyne Patton has dismissed the jump in membership for her organisation as having anything to do with the new President, saying that it is left-wing "silliness".

Patton simply says that as long as LGBTQIA people are embracing the Second Amendment, she welcomes new recruits.

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