ADDED ON: 02/19/2022

Pink Pistols aims to arm the LGBTQ community against hate crimes

2/18/22 | Lynnwood Times

“Pick on someone your own caliber” is the motto of the Pink Pistols, an LGBTQ gun rights organization in the United States and Canada that advocates for the use of lawfully-owned and concealed firearms for the self-defense of the sexual minority community. In the public eye, gun rights are often affiliated with a conservative ideology and LGBTQ rights are seen as liberal. Pink Pistols, a non-partisan, apolitical group tries to shatter these biases by showing their members that gun rights are for everyone, regardless of political belief. They are not sponsored by the NRA, completely self-funded, and exclusively run by volunteers. “There’s the liberal gun owners, there’s the liberal gun club, there’s the socialist rifles associations. There are a lot of other firearm groups that are out there, and our members span the entire political spectrum,” Sharyn Hinchcliffe, Administrator of the Pink Pistols Seattle-Tacoma chapter, told the Lynnwood Times. “We’ve had members that are part of the Republican party, members that are members of the Democrat party. We’ve had members that are part of the Socialist party as well as the Libertarian party. The only thing I try to influence is to be respectful. Being able to defend yourself lies outside of politics.” Sharyn Hinchcliffe became involved with the Pink Pistols following the Pulse club shooting in 2016, in which Omar Mateen, a 29-year old man, killed 49 people and wounded 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. To Hinchcliffe, the tragedy hit close to home, having many family and friends in the LGBTQ community in South Florida. “Since I couldn’t help my family there, I decided to help my community here,” Hinchcliffe said.The Seattle-Tacoma chapter meets once a month, typically at local shooting ranges, to teach firearm safety and answer any questions they may have about guns in general. These meetups are not exclusive to those who identify as LGBTQ nor to those who own a firearm. In many cases, participants have never before touched a firearm. The Pink Pistols are there to inform and instruct in these situations.

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