The Intersections

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GAY, LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL
         LGBTQS AND GUNS
   NATIONAL ORGANIZATION SEEKS TO ARM THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY

   
By Dulcinea Hawksworth


Nicki Stallard is using her special brand of charisma and unique skill set to educate
people about firearms, and empower those who feel victimized.

“I like things that go boom,” said Stallard who is the President of the Fresno
California Chapter of the Pink Pistols.

Originally from New York City, Stallard has always had an interest in firearms.

“I wanted to be shooting guns since I was a child, but of course NYC had such
oppressive gun laws that I could never do it, so when I left New York  at 19 and
joined the service, I bought my first handgun and I’ve been buying
guns ever since," she said.

Stallard became involved with the Pistols around 2005.

The Pink Pistols is an LGBTQ firearm organization, with independent chapters
across the nation. They provide training and education to their members, through 
various events that are held during the year.

“I remember reading an internet article about concealed carry permits related to
the issue of hate crimes, and that they often involved multiple violent attackers,"
Stallard said. "Certain gun rights folks were actually advocating that the gays
should get themselves concealed carry permits.  One of the advocates of this
theory, set up a web site called the pink pistols, and after the article went out,
chapters popped up across the country." 

At the time, she was living in California. After discovering an inactive chapter,
Stallard stepped up to the plate and initiated a chaper in Fresno. 

“Then I started going out and about nationwide and speaking at the Gun Rights Policy Conference [GRPC] and other events," she recalled. "That started my Pink Pistol advocacy, and I’ve been doing it ever since." 

The GPRC is an annual event held by the Second Amendment Foundation and The Citizens Committee to Keep and Bear Arms during which people from all walks of life, with firearm related interests, meet up and discuss the issues. 

Stallard explained that, in the beginning, the founders of the Pistols were very concerned about protecting the privacy of their members. 

“People self-identify as Pink Pistols but we don’t keep lists of members, we don’t have mandatory dues or anything like that so we don’t have to comply with any sort of record keeping," she said. "There’s an anonymity factor where people can be involved and empowered and still retain their privacy."

“Anyone who goes to one of my Pink Pistols shoots doesn’t have to expose their LGBTQ status if they don’t want to," she added. "I don’t ask, and I don’t care, as long as they practice firearm safety we’re good”.
 
Straight people are always welcome.

“My chapter is comprised of LGBTQ and what I like to call 'open minded straights'," Stallard said. "It is smart for us to build alliances with the straight community because, quite frankly, the gay community doesn’t have that many gun trainers. The smart thing is to suck up our pride        and graciously accept help so that we can get to the issue of saving lives. We don’t have the luxury of                                                                            being Prima donnas. “

Most of the organization's active chapters hold at least one monthly shoot.

"When we are running our shoots, our number one priority is safety," Stallard asserted. "Number two, we want everybody to have fun, and number three is to hit the targets and get good scores!" 

"We hold at least two events per month [in Fresno],” she added. “After the Pulse Nightclub incident, we had a massive growth in size from around 1,500 people nationwide across the country to over 9,000 within a month. We’ve had some growing pains, but they are the good kind."

In addition to her continued work with the Pistols, Stallard hopes to coordinate with other groups to develop workshops for active shooter training, as well as her “retirement plans” which include developing a personal empowerment program called “Victim Not” that educates and empowers all citizens through self defense and change of personal mindset.

“Your gun is not a weapon your brain is the weapon; the gun is just a defensive to tool," she said. 
  

 Pink Pistols Fresno Chapter President Nicki Stallard
 Photo Courtesy Nicki Stallard