Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah was founded November 26, 2002 by David Nelson. He is an American activist for the protection of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. He founded or helped found several LGBT-related nonprofit organizations in Utah and helped direct others. His work with the Democratic Party encouraged many LGBT Utahans to serve as party leaders. His work as a legislative and executive lobbyist accomplished the adoption of several LGBT- and weapon-friendly state and local laws, rules, ordinances and policies, and the rejection of other legislation. In the fall of 2013, David Nelson entrusted the care and duties of Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah to Scott Mogilefsky. Scott & Gretchen are supports of the LGBT community as well as the Second Amendment Rights.
We're weapon advocates and owners in Utah. We support the Pink Pistols idea that was described nationally in 2000 by writer Jonathan Rauch for the legal, responsible and safe use of weapons for our self defense, recreation and weapon-sports competition. Hundreds of supporters including those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender have joined us since 2002 when our group was founded.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah?
We're weapon advocates and owners in Utah. We support the Pink Pistols idea that was described nationally in 2000 by writer Jonathan Rauch for the legal, responsible and safe use of weapons for our self defense, recreation and weapon-sports competition. Hundreds of supporters including those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have joined us since 2002 when our group was founded.
Q: Do I need to be LGBT to join SSSU?
No. While we advocate for the legal, safe and responsible use of weapons for our self defense and weapon-sports competition and recreation, including those of us who are LGBT, and that of our families and friends, our supporters include people of all sexualities, both genders, all abilities and politics. We are an all inclusive group!
Q: Do I need to know how to use a weapon or have my own equipment?
No. Our goals include making weapons familiarity available to people who are new to it as well as those who are longtime shooters. We recommend various shooting ranges throughout the state and equipment may be rented at many of them. Our supporters include certified instructors if you choose to get more than informal instruction.
Q: Do I need a permit to participate?
No. Our group is free and open to everyone who supports our goals. Utah laws don't require any special training, licenses or permits to use or own weapons in the state. Utah law does require training and a Utah Concealed Firearm Permit if you choose to carry a loaded firearm or concealed weapons (including knives). While most shooting ranges offer CFP classes every week, we do have a list of recommended Utah CFP instructors in whose classes you may enroll if you choose. Be sure to inform the recommended instructor you choose that you are a member of SSSU for a discounted rate.
Q: May I purchase weapons?
Yes, if you're 18 years of age or older (or 21 years of age or older for handguns) and pass the instant background check that is required by federal and state laws to purchase firearms. There are no other requirements. If you are making a private firearm purchase, please consult with one of the recommended instructors for guidance if this is your first purchase. Only you can know which weapons are right for you. To learn more, research the different makes and models, understand the calibers, have an idea of what the intended use of the firearm will be and rent or use one from a friend or family member prior to making the purchase. If you do not like the firearm you bought, you cannot return it to the store for a refund. Your primary concern should be safety, so start with small weapons as you learn about each. Many of our supporters will be pleased to advise you about your weapon selection if you choose to purchase.
Q: I've never touched any type of weapon. How will I know how to use them?
Many of our supporters would be pleased to share with you informal advice and instruction about using weapons. Some might offer to give you individual attention at local shooting ranges. Some of our supporters are state/national certified instructors and might agree to give you more formal instruction if you choose.
Q: What is the politics of SSSU?
While we're not part of any political party, our supporters come from various parties and philosophies. We share ideas and information about candidates for elected public office and proposed public policies including local, state and federal laws which affect our supporters disproportionately.
In time for its 11th anniversary on November 26, 2013, Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah has new leadership. Syracuse-based firearms instructor and LGBT ally Scott Mogilefsky is excited to continue his work with the group as its owner after the retirement of group founder and longtime LGBT activist David Nelson.
"My work with the group started when I agreed to be one of its recommended instructors," Mogilefsky said. "In response to three violent hate crimes in Utah in August and September 2011, I decided to do what I know best, and conducted a Utah Concealed Firearm Permit class at the Utah Pride Center."
He joined Nelson and Women Against Gun Control founder Janalee Tobias publicly in advising LGBT Utahns to learn the safe responsible ownership of firearms for self-defense. Weeks later in her SLUG magazine column, LGBT activist Princess Kennedy wrote about her experience in Mogilefsky's class.
"I immediately signed up to take the four-hour class so I could get my strap on!", Kennedy said.
Mogilefsky also owns Utah CCW Training LLC, and is a veteran of the U.S. Army, served overseas and was deployed to hostile environments. He is an avid rifle and bow hunter, outdoorsman, mountaineer, survivalist (bush craft) and expert marksman. He is updating the group's website for mobile devices and plans to develop an online forum for LGBT weapon owners and self-defense advocates.
We are often asked what SSSU has accomplished. A summary of our work shows how we:
--Helped lobby member of the Utah Legislature successfully in 2013 for legislation which prohibits violent crimes between dating partners while protecting the possession of firearms by citizens.
--Lobbied staffers of the Utah Department of Public Safety successfully in 2010 to repeal an unconstitutional administrative-rule restriction of the issuance of Utah Concealed Firearm Permits to citizens who were convicted of violating the state sodomy law.
--Helped lobby members of the Utah Senate successfully in 2008 against the confirmation of Utah 3rd District Court Judge Robert K. Hilder to serve as a member of the Utah Court of Appeals after he declared his opinion in 2003 that staffers of the University of Utah could prohibit the possession of firearms by citizens at the university.
--Lobbied staffers of the Salt Lake County Office of the District Attorney successfully in 2007 to repeal an illegal prohibition of the possession of firearms by citizens at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City and the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah.
--Helped lobby members of the Utah Legislature successfully in 2007 for legislation which protects the possession of firearms by citizens at public schools and universities.
--Helped host a National Rifle Association of America Inc. exhibit in 2005 at the Utah Democratic Convention.
--Endorsed state and federal candidates for elected public offices since 2004 so that voters could make informed choices.
--Lobbied gay and lesbian members of the Utah Legislature since 2003 to enroll in Concealed Firearm Permit classes which are offered to them by other groups.
--Lobbied members of the Utah Legislature since 2003 about every bill which would disproportionately affect LGBT Utahns and weapon owners.
--Welcomed more LGBT Utahns to the shooting sports since 2002 than any other LGBT weapon group world wide.
By Keith Araneo-Yowell, Ryan Bradford, Brandon Burt, Stephen Dark, Cara Despain, Bill Frost, Jamie Gaette, Phil Jacobsen, Ted McDonough, Holly Mullen, Tom Nelson, Eric Peterson, Jenny Polar, John Rasmunson, Scott Renshaw, John Saltas, Ted Scheffler, Jacob Stringer and Jerre Wroble.
Best Cold Dead Hands: David Nelson
Gay firearms advocate and Stonewall Shooting and Sports owner David Nelson was ejected from the Utah Pride Festival in June 2007 for carrying an unconcealed and unloaded firearm despite having a permit and knowledge of state law to do so. He was detained by police, questioned and then told to go home. He went on to file a complaint and a $25,000 claim against Salt Lake City Corp. So far, he's only received a verbal apology from the police chief. The lesson: If you don't want guns in holsters at your event, better say so on your ticket. Oh, and don't mess around with Nelson.