Shoot! Gunslingers Raise Money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure With Assault Rifles (UPDATE)
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."
"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."
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®."
"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.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.