Gays Against Guns

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Gays Against Guns is a left-of-center, anti-gun activist group that organizes LGBT individuals and allies to protest in support of gun control measures. The organization hosts rallies in opposition to pro-gun organizations, public officials, and firearm manufacturers. Gays Against Guns also pressures businesses and politicians to drop their support for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other Second Amendment-related causes.

While the organization’s website refers to the group as “Gays Against Guns NY” and the group organizes primarily in New York City, its website lists a mailing address in California. 1


Gays Against Guns was formed shortly after the June 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, when Islamic State sympathizer Omar Mateen killed 49 people ostensibly as revenge for American military operations against the terrorist organization. 23

Activism and Media

Gays Against Guns hosts bi-weekly meetings, in addition to rallies, marches, and other “direct action” events. The organization states that it intends to “cause a disruption” by being “loud” and “in your face,” and asserts that some of its events involve “arrestable actions.” 4


Gays Against Guns activists marched in the 2016 Pride Parade in New York City, where they chanted “F**k the NRA” and staged a “die-in” to protest the pro-gun-rights organization and the members of Congress it supports. 5

In July of 2016, Gays Against Guns staged rallies outside of two CrossFit gyms in July of 2016 to protest the athletic company’s decision to offer handguns as prizes at its annual CrossFit Games. 6 That November, Gays Against Guns protested at the Manhattan offices of FedEx, Hertz, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. At the time, these companies offered discounts to NRA members. 7 In 2018, all three companies announced that they had ended their affiliations with the NRA. 89


In 2019, Gays Against Guns produced a documentary about the organization and its activism. Still Films, the production company behind the documentary, describes any firearm as a “toxic object” that represents “bigotry” and “everything that’s wrong with this country.” 10


Gays Against Guns has supported several left-wing gun control measures. Gays Against Guns praised Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) in June of 2016 for signing a bill into law that placed all legal gun owners in the state into a federal database. The group called the measure, which did not affect illegally obtained firearms, “another victory in the drive for sensible gun safety laws.” 11

Gays Against Guns also celebrated Portland, Maine restaurant owner Anne Verrill for announcing that she would not allow customers who owned semi-automatic rifles with modern cosmetic features or customers who supported the right to own these legal weapons to eat at her restaurant. The organization called Verrill a “fierce kween” [sic] and praised her decision as an “excellent example” for combatting the firearms industry. 12

In November of 2017, seven Gays Against Guns activists were arrested after staging a “die-in” disruption in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The activists were calling for the reinstatement of the “assault weapons” ban, which made a large variety of semi-automatic rifles illegal based on cosmetic features, and the imposition of universal background checks on firearms purchases. 13 The Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice found that universal background checks, as opposed to the current mandatory federal background checks, would require the nationwide registration of all legal gun owners. 14


Gays Against Guns was founded by John Grauwiler, Kevin Hertzog, and Brian Worth. Member Mark Leydorf is responsible for producing songs for activists to perform at protests. 15


Gays Against Guns requests donations to support its activism expenses, including storage, supplies, and the maintenance of a bail fund. On its website, the group directs donors to the Metropolitan Community Church of New York (MCCNY), which serves as the organization’s fiscal sponsor. MCCNY describes itself as “a church of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” While the group’s website directs donors to select “Gays Against Guns” from a drop-down menu, the church’s page only lists an “MCCNY General Fund.” 1617

MCCNY Charities Inc. received total donations of $321,205 in 2018 and $279,476 in 2017. 18 The church received over $400,000 per year in donations from 2015 to 2016, and more than $1.3 million in 2014 – significantly more than it did in the preceding and following years. 19


  1.       Gays Against Guns. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  2.             Brian Ross et. al., “Orlando Shooter on Facebook: Now ‘Taste’ ISIS ‘Vengeance,’” ABC News, June 15, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  3.        Mission, Gays Against Guns. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  4.            Events, Gays Against Guns. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  5.           “Gays Against Guns Makes News and Takes to the Street,” Gays Against Guns, June 27, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  6.   “GAG and Friends Shut Down Two NYC Reebok Locations Demaning [sic] that Reebok and Crossfit “Drop the Glock,” Gays Against Guns, July 23, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  7.            “GAG Targets Hertz, Wyndham, FedEx’s NRA Blood Money Discounts,” Gays Against Guns, November 29, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  8. John Foley, “Exclusive: FedEx drops NRA deal by snail-mail,” Reuters, October 30, 2018. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  9.        Dominic Rushe, “NRA under mounting pressure as companies cut ties with gun lobby,” The Guardian, February 23, 2018. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  10.     Still Films, “Gays Against Guns • The Movie • Trailer 2019,” YouTube, February 22, 2019. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  11.   “Aloha! Gun Owners in Hawaii to Register in Federal Database,” Gays Against Guns, June 28, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  12.            “GIVE IT UP for ANNE VERRILL – the second FIRECE KWEEN [sic] of GaG!!!,” Gays Against Guns, August 5, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  13.      “7 Gays Against Guns Activists Arrested In Hart Senate “Die-In,” Gays Against Guns, November 6, 2017. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  14.            Greg Ridgeway, “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies,” National Institute of Justice, January 4, 2013. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  15.        Rupert Neate, “Gays Against Guns: can the LGBTQ community curb the power of the gun lobby?,” The Guardian, January 22, 2017. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  16.             Donate, Gays Against Guns. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  17.        Metropolitan Community Church of New York, EasyTithe. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  18.      MCCNY Charities Inc., Internal Revenue Service, 2018. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  19.      MCCNY Charities, ProPublica. Accessed November 12, 2020.
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