Mystery posters link gun rights to gay rights

Posters popping up in Seattle and Olympia, Wash., call on supporters of gay rights to also back gun rights, but so far, no one is taking credit for the message.

Posters cropping up in at least two cities in Washington state appear to be trying to recruit gays and lesbians to the gun-rights cause.

One poster shows a photo of a woman with her arms draped over another woman who is toting what appears to be an AR-15 rifle. The poster's message reads: “Some people dislike gays. Others dislike guns. We should not base our laws on personal dislikes.”

Another poster shows a caricature of two men holding weapons, along with the message: "We won our right to marry … now it’s time to defend our right.”

The posters have been cropping up recently in the gay-friendly Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle and around the Capitol Campus in the state capital of Olympia, according to media reports.

Washington state approved same-sex marriage last year.

'ALLIES IN THE CAUSE'

The posters feature a barcode that, when scanned by a cellphone or other imaging device, directs the reader to a pro-gun rights website called A Human Right. The site is run by Oleg Volk, a Nashville, Tenn., advertising photographer and creative director whose work includes providing images for gun magazines.

Volk said he doesn't know who has been putting up the street posters.

In an email to MSN News, Volk said: "The photo poster is my design, the line drawing isn't. I encourage re-posting of my graphics, so I approve of the use in general. The specific use wasn't coordinated with me but that's just fine, pre-approval is not necessary.

"I have no idea who posted them but they acted as my allies in the cause," Volk said. "I want everyone -— especially people who have been traditionally facing discrimination and danger — to be more secure and independent. Minorities of all kinds are in that exact predicament."

On his website, Volk says he grew up in the Soviet Union and adds: "Proficiency with weapons is as practical a skill as giving CPR or using a fire extinguisher: In an emergency, these skills can save lives."

PINK PISTOLS

Gay-rights and gun-rights groups aren't often viewed as political or ideological allies, though at least one organization backs both platforms. The Pink Pistols, a gay gun-rights organization started in 2000, says it's dedicated to "the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community." The nonpartisan group says it has worked with the NRA in the past on gun-rights legislation.

The group's national spokeswoman, Gwendolyn S. Patton, said in a statement:

“These posters were not created, or distributed around Seattle by the Pink Pistols. The Pink Pistols believes in the lawful self-defense of the GLBT community. Where it is lawful, we believe in the use of concealed firearms for this purpose, because those are statistically the best tools for the job. They are only properly used to defend against imminent death or grievous bodily harm.

“Those who are offended by these posters, we cannot help you.," she added. "We did not post them."

The National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading gun-rights lobby, and Human Rights campaign, the nation’s largest gay-rights advocacy group, also did not return requests for comment.

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