Shoot! Gunslingers Raise Money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure With Assault Rifles (UPDATE)

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Yesterday, Runnin' Scared brought you news of a pink gun -- marketed as a fundraising partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation -- on sale for 429 bucks at a Seattle Firearms dealer.

Late in the afternoon, a Komen spokeswoman told reporters that the breast cancer advocacy group had nothing to do with this so-called "Hope" pistol, and that the non-profit plans on sending a cease and desist order to Discount Gun Sales.

"We do not have partnerships with any firearms manufacturer," she told the Huffington Post. Smith & Wesson, which distributes the model, told us that the company knew nothing about the product. They never manufactured anything for breast cancer fundraising, they said.

But Runnin' Scared got a tip late last night that puts to question some of these claims -- and leads you to think that, contrary to the official P.R. lines, somebody somewhere at either Komen or Smith & Wesson, or other retailers/clubs knew that weapons were being used for breast cancer awareness.

Check it out: in May 2009, Smith & Wesson very publicly announced its first quarterly donation to Komen's Massachusetts' branch. The company was able to fundraise by designing this "M&P9 JG in collaboration with Professional Shooter Julie Goloski Golob with the intent that a portion of the proceeds would benefit breast cancer awareness."

Oh?

"The full-size pistol is engraved with the 'Awareness Ribbon' on the slide and is packaged with two pink grip inserts (small and medium) along with the three standard black grip inserts."

Classy.

Said a company honcho of the gun: "Many of our lives have been touched by breast cancer and Smith & Wesson is very proud to be supporting the Susan G. Komen foundation in order to help support research, increase education and to promote early detection of breast cancer among both women and men."

"As the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, the foundation reaches out to thousands of communities across the globe. Smith & Wesson fully supports these efforts and is pleased to be able to play a small role in the fight against cancer."

And then there's this: GunBroker.com hosted an auction of a pink rifle to raise money for breast cancer awareness. This "AR-15 style DPMS Panther Lite 16 Special Edition Pink" went on the bidding block in November 2010.

"The auction supports the fund-raising goals of the GunBroker.com family team, which includes walkers and crew members in the Atlanta Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, held Oct. 22-24," a press release notes. "All proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, which funds innovative global breast cancer research and local community programs supporting education, screening and treatment."

Let's not forget this recent beaut: A Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure event in Illinois! (Seriously, you couldn't make this shit up.)

The state's rifle association hosted this bullet-bonanza in October 2011: "Participants will be assessed a small registration fee of $30 ($20 for kids 12-18) which will entitle them to fire 30 rounds at targets set up on the pistol, rifle and shotgun ranges. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®."

Uh huh...

"This is a great opportunity for folks to enjoy a day participating in the shooting sports while, at the same time, working to help eradicate this horrible disease," Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said in a press release. "We're hoping that this first event will kick off a long and successful partnership between the ISRA and Komen."

Runnin' Scared has reached out to Komen, Smith & Wesson, and these other parties to figure out what the deal is. Of course, it's possible that Komen really didn't know, but we'd still like an explanation of how the brand got tacked onto guns. We'll update if we hear back.

[UPDATE: Runnin' Scared has reached out again to Komen and Smith & Wesson. So far, no luck getting in contact with them. We're just going to call them repeatedly the rest of the day to get to the bottom of this pink gun polemic.]

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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17 comments
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Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

With Komen's CEO Nancy Brinker raking in $417,171 annually (2010-2011), It doesn't fit my idea of a charity/ non-profit as she is surely profiting.  

Barry
Barry

This is only a story if the businesses involved are cashing in without actually forwarding proceeds to Komen. Unlikely, since they're loudly trumpeting the Komen connection. Otherwise they're just corporate citizens supporting a cause, in this case the eradication of breast cancer.

Why are you so up in arms about this?

o3
o3

More support is better whether Smith & Wesson, the RNC, Karl Rove, or Faux knews.

Niemand
Niemand

First: anyone can make donations, and don't need a charity's permission first to do so.

Second: assuming they forgot about the arrangement, who really cares?  If you want a gun, buy one.  If you want a pink gun, buy one (or have it custom finished).  If a pink gun giving donations to breast cancer spins your wheels, buy one of those.  Or ten.Third: there is no contradiction between liking guns and liking breasts, and disliking rust and disliking breast cancer.Fourth: more women than ever are buying guns.  Chances are, they want breast cancer cured, and some of them might like pink guns.  This is supply for that demand - perfectly reasonable.

The topic of the article leaves me largely cold.  People raise money for breast cancer charity.  Whether they do it by sponsored shooting competitions or pink guns or direct donations isn't really anyone else's business.

The breathless, oh-my-god-somebody-wants-to-involve-gun-culture-and-breast-cancer-awareness-ain't-that-FREAKY manufactured oh-so-sly we-are-more-enlightened-nudge-nudge tone of the article (complete with expressive choices such as " A Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure event in Illinois! (Seriously, you couldn't make this shit up.)") doesn't even rise to the standard of reporting - it's not dispassionate, it's certainly not comprehensive in its view of the topic (this is the internet, electrons are cheap) and leaves this as a sleazy opinion piece too cowardly to even openly state a case for an editorial opinion.

It's as if this reporter just suddenly discovered that guns are frequently chosen as vehicles of personal expression, including decorated ones raffled off in causes as diverse as political, environmental and charitable interests.  Go and look at museums, sometime.  This isn't new.  It's not even particularly surprising.  NYC has many fine museums.  Look into it.

maggy
maggy

Koman is a RWGOP political organization.The. End.

bearzee
bearzee

Train the laser sight on the tumor and pull the trigger? That's the GOP health care plan.

Les
Les

"Runnin' Scared has reached out to Komen, Smith & Wesson, and these other parties to figure out what the deal is." 

It's not hard to figure out what the deal is, Victoria.  It is unfortunate that you're so wired up in your political agenda that you're upset that the makers of a legal product are suportting this cause. 

Victoriabekiempis
Victoriabekiempis

Les, I'm not upset at anyone. I just want to know who is behind marketing guns for the Cure since Komen says it's not OK with that, and since nobody else has really explained how this happened, etc. This isn't a political thing. It's a fact thing. 

Les
Les

That dog just doesn't hunt, Victoria.  The fact that you're upset that someone is marketing a gun and giving some portion of the revenue generated to Komen is apparent from the story you posted.  Your story is not a "fact thing".  It is an obvious attempt to keep gun manufacturers and dealers from supporting Komen. 

Les
Les

That's OK, Myriam.  Donations to charity can go other places.  I do appreciate you making my point for me though. 

Guest
Guest

Guns are legal products, but so are abortions. It doesn't make either of them any less controversial. I'm surprised that you don't see how cynical it is for someone to sell a product designed to end lives, to donate some of the proceeds towards saving lives.  Even the Komen people want nothing to do with the gun manufacturer.  

Les
Les

No assumption is required, Victoria.  Your blog posting makes that pretty clear.  Did you attack anyone else for selling a legal product in a promotion where they claimed to be giving a portion of the proceeds to a charity? 

Telos123
Telos123

If the SGK spokesperson is lying about never having made a product tie-in -- of any sort -- in apparent contradiction to products being clearly sold with that intent, that is cause for concern among those who are buying such products in the belief that they are contributing to research on breast cancer.  If one is to believe the SGK spokesperson here, then surely SGK itself is not in favor of using guns as a merchandising tie-in.  Or are they?

Victoriabekiempis
Victoriabekiempis

Les: Why the assumption that I'm anti-gun? Yes, I did disclose fully in an earlier post that I am pro-choice -- but that doesn't really have anything to do with my opinion of guns. My role as a journalist is to call "bullshit" (or apparent/seeming bullshit) and I'll gladly call it on anyone (Democrat, Republican, pro-gun, anti-gun, etc. etc.) That's all I'm trying to do. 

confederateflag
confederateflag

Breast cancer knows not whether you are a gun lover or a pro choicer, it kills with reckless abandon, so we all need to take a chill pill and step back and look at things. Politics and cancer do not mix.

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