Meet Chris Cheng, a Gay Gun-Rights Activist Changing the Face of the NRA: VIDEO

Screenshot 2014-08-09 12.43.44

Chris Cheng, a former Googler and winner of the History Channel’s fourth season of Top Shot, is an openly gay man on a mission to change the face of gun rights activism. Profiled in the Atlantic this week, Cheng reflected on how going public with his long-time passion for firearms gave him the push to officially come out in hopes of beginning a conversation about queer proponents of the Second Amendment.

Following his Top Shot win Cheng signed on as an NRA news analyst, solidly orienting his career towards gun advocacy.

"I think that this is an opportunity for the NRA and our community to accurately portray the diversity that already exists in the community,” Cheng explained.  "We've allowed some prevailing stereotypes to take hold, and we're not challenging them."

The conversation around gay gun rights activists is a complicated one. Organizations like The Pink Pistols blur the line between a  conservative defense of the Second Amendment, a social club, and a movement designed to empower gay individuals to fight homophobia by arming themselves. By and large the march of progress for LGBTQ rights has been powered by activism on the left, while gun advocacy is grounded firmly on the right. Cheng, whose Wikipedia page claims that he has expressed interest in pursuing public office, has staked out a spot for himself that, aside from his views on guns, is politically neutral.

“I do plan on advocating for gay rights.” Cheng told late last year. “Rights are rights, and the concepts of liberty and freedom equally apply to gun and gay rights in my book. I do not expect people to agree with my positions on either, but I do expect the freedom to exercise my rights as an American, in the pursuit of happiness.”

Watch Chris Cheng’s first appearance as an NRA commentator AFTER THE JUMP



  1. says

    well, the Pink Pistols are a bunch of f***ing idiots – that mealy-faced leader of theirs decries how “liberals make it harder for gays to get guns” or something – without ever backing up his claims, (backup of which would be that each gay victim of a violent crime TRIED to get a gun but COULDN’T because “the liberal agenda made it harder”)

    i’ve managed to fight homophobia for years without a gun. know how? i have a spine. a voice. and a pair of orbs

    to walk around armed would be to concede defeat – and accept that society has failed. an armed populace is the mark of a failed culture.

    the goalie should have? for people to feel safe and secure WITHOUT EXERCISING the second amendment. i’ll never own a gun. i’ll never walk around each day in fear. that’s freedom. that’s courage.

  2. Ulu says

    This whole thing makes my stomach turn. The “tyranny” of government he’s railing against, could equally be applied to owners of guns; after all guns can be used to target “protected” minorities, and many of these NRA nutjobs are intolerant paranoid whites.

  3. UFFDA says

    Very interesting. Guns aren’t going away and the resistance to them isn’t either. The two sides keep re-creating each other. I wouldn’t intentionally get into this for anything.

  4. ratbastard says

    Why does legal firearm ownership scare some people, gay or otherwise? In many places and situations having a gun,shotgun, or rifle could absolutely save your life or get you out of a bad situation. Police are not everywhere at all times and rarely are they around when assaults, rapes, murders, home invasions, and so-on occur, they show up after the fact most of the time. As gays I should think most would be pleased to know they have the legal right to own firearms. The rest of the typical drival from most commenters is related to political correctness and party/ideological narrative and talking points. EVERYTHING on the ‘progressive’ far left seems to revolve around how evil white patriarchy (males, females get a big pass because they are integral to the ‘coalition’) out to victimize and hate ‘brown’ people, African Americans, females, and of course ‘sexual minorities’. It’s all about ‘outrage’ over this or that situation, incident, real or percieved / faux ‘slight’,etc. It’s all about keeping people on edge, angry and divided, while claiming the mantle of inclusion.

    I’m grateful I have a legal right as a law abiding citizen to own firearms, for whatever the reason. If politicians and big shots in various industries avail themselves to own firearms, and/or have armed bodyguards, why shouldn’t I or any other law abiding citizen? Let them disarm themselves and dump their bodyguards, then maybe we can talk. Ain’t gonna happen.

  5. ratbastard says

    My father, rest his soul, should have owned a gun the night he died from a perforated anus after being the bottom of a black on white gang bang. He could have shot his way out of it, but instead he bottomed his way into a grave. Oh well. At least he died happy. And full of male ejaculate, and not bullets.

  6. robroy says

    Scratching my head over this one…

    I guess the new ‘in’ thing for all rightwing groups is to trot out a gay- specifically a gay as opposed to multiple gays- and see if we don’t slather our support on their cause as a sign of appreciation. FWIW- I think one can think people have the right to gun ownership without taking it to NRA levels. I believe a propensity to be a criminal and bring the crazy should negate those rights. If the NRA were smart they would be pushing for better mental health services and more law enforcement in inner city neighborhoods most hit by crime. But they are not…

  7. Anon says

    This community really does know how to pour on the hate.

    I am a West Coast liberal. My partner is Southerner and proud gun owner. I work in healthcare and have seen innumerable people who have been victims of gun accidents and gun violence, often with tragic consequences.

    While I do not support all of Chris’ views, I can understand them. He is an intelligent, young man who has made many positive contributions to his community. He has attended some of the best universities in the world, worked for Google, co-founded a nonprofit to find housing for the needy, speaks fluent Spanish, and helped raise money for various charitable foundations. He has also come out as gay to a group that is often dismissive of ethnic and sexual minorities. He has put himself and his views out there to make a positive difference in the world. What you have done?

    Too often those do very little, only contribute negativity to those who strive and achieve positive change in the world.

  8. Peck says

    He is completely, totally and one hundred percent correct: rights are rights. The constitution is just as clear on the right of people to bear arms as it is that all people should have due process and equal protection.

    Gays should be treated the same as non-gays and gun rights are protected, too. If you don’t like it, change the constitution but don’t chip away at our rights.

  9. Icebloo says

    I long for the day when there are no gays left who have to attach themselves to right wing hate groups to make themselves feel better about themselves.

    I feel sorry for this guy. I hope one day he can man up and accept himself. The reality is these right wing hate groups will ALWAYS hate us no matter how much you try to pretend they won’t.

    Time to MAN UP and GROW UP gays !

  10. slv says


    The constitution supports the states via a well regulated militia to have arms not individuals

    The interpretation has been individuals but the constitution doesn’t give that right per its exact words

    @ ratbastard, the majority have more issue with the support of the NRA that is full of homophobes instead of being anti gun. There is a difference between guns and supporting the NRA whose board is full of rabid homophobes

  11. Kali says

    Never mind the specifics about this individual.

    If you’re gay and you’re allowed to own a gun, you should.

    If you’re gay and you’re allowed to carry a gun, you should.

    If you’re gay and allowed to open carry a gun, you should.

    Think of this. Anti-gays who are allowed to carry guns are going to, and YOU ARE THE TARGET. YOU ARE THEIR ‘DEVIL’. Homophobia is still institutionalized, and judges & police still side with gay-bashers and murderers of gays.

    Anybody who’s against gays carrying guns like their oppressors do, WANT GAYS TO BE PURE VICTIMS – and THEY are the IDIOTS.

    You’re gay and one of the Benham Brother’s soldiers pulls a gun on you and YOU DON’T HAVE ONE – what do you do? Lay down and die? Take a picture with your phone?!

    All gays should be getting ready. It’s open season in this world, and if you’re not ready to fight then you must prepare yourself to be a VICTIM and DIE.


  12. stranded says

    @ANON: Thank you for pointing out those qualities in Chris. It’s easy to seem dismissive online and I want to say that these contributions are indeed worthy and I am in awe that someone could do so much for others.

    However, all those contributions don’t mean his position as a promoter of the NRA shouldn’t be criticized. I have no love for guns or investment in the mythology of how happy they make people. I recognise that some people view the second amendment as a god-given right to intimidate others. For some, shooting a well-made machine in target practice is both a skill and an art, and I have no problem accepting that.

    But the NRA has become an agent of death in a gun-obsessed culture where innocents are slaughtered daily. They absolutely do not represent responsible and compassionate gun ownership. The NRA’s message is a corruption of the second amendment and it seems to me that anyone who really cares about the spirit of humane citizenship would want to protect the innocents if we are in fact a just nation.

    I can respect this guy’s relationship with his guns. I think he’s a hypocrite for shilling for the NRA.

  13. CRISPY says

    Ooooooh, gurl, check my snarky performance art over here. I’m real real clever. Laugh at my funny joke!
    This is exactly the kind of post for s*its and giggles.
    Don’t have anything substantial to add… but hey I’m funny as s*it! And I never learned how to behave online by trolls – I thought of it all by myself to respond to some stylistic expression that has no relevance to the reply to the post…

  14. Peck says


    That is your interpretation of the 2nd amendment; it is not, however, the court’s interpretation of the same and, if you read history you will find that the state militia’s were, at the time the constitution was drafted, made up of individual’s who were called up and brought their own weapons. You do have an argument, just not a winning one.

  15. jamal49 says

    Nice to know that even gays can be NRA-bots. Listen, blowhole. Come back and talk about this when you’re ready to discuss sensible gun ownership laws and regulations. Otherwise take your fetishistic phallic symbols and shove them square up your @$$.

  16. Merv says

    Just like abortion, gun ownership for self-protection should be safe, legal, and rare. As Little Kiwi said, the type of paranoia we’re seeing is a symptom of societal failures. I do agree with the gun nuts on one thing: The solution right now is not massive new gun control initiatives. We really need to change the culture. A good start would be gun safety regulations aimed mostly at the manufacturers to reduce the number of accidental shootings (e.g., requiring highly visible chambered round indicators on all new guns).

  17. slv says

    yes peck

    as I said it is the interpretation

    But a strict constitutional reading of the words says differently. It is Ironic that scalia etc who claim to be strict constructionists read something into the 2nd amendment as vs going strictly by the words

    a strict constructionist reading of the 2nd amendment would be each state having a militia / state guard regulated by the state which the fed could not infringe upon and nothing about individuals

  18. Bernie says

    Yeah, I am not too keen on anyone gay or straight getting in bed with the NRA, whose 2nd Amendment stance is inflexible…I am not sure bragging about being gay and with the NRA is the route to go in a country that can barely have a conversation about trying to rein in gun violence with background checks, etc….and, the biggest question/issue I have is why can’t Congress stand up to the bullies of the NRA, yes, I know it is about money, but if one keeps in mind shootings like the school shooting in Connecticut, that puts things more into perspective

  19. jhodi says

    I’m gay and pro-gun control. But those two identities are not intrinsically linked. You can be gay and pro-gun—or pro-life, or anti-Palestinian. This idea that we should line up for a shopping list of political values, never made sense to me.

    That said, the NRA is just awful. I just mean, in theory, you can be LGBT and support sane gun ownership.

  20. Lee says

    Please how you hippies get victimized by some gay basher you deserve it anti constitution fucktards. Bet mattew Shepard would still be alive if he had a gun that night, armed gays don’t get bashed plane and simple.

  21. Robert says

    “Stranded” nailed the comment. All of the so-called level-headed people here in favor of gun ownership are ignoring just how batshit insane the NRA has become. We’re not talking about people owning a gun or two. We’re talking about an organization that is foaming at the mouth to ensure that psychopaths are allowed to buy a dozen f’ing assault rifles.

  22. Joe says


    It is nice to see some honesty from a person on the left for once. The issues you listed are not linked to one another. Positions on each issue stands or falls on their own individual merits. It is unfortunate that progressives have turned so many people into mindless robots who think that to be pro X you must be against A, B and C.

    One of the funniest examples of intelectual dishonesty on this comes from Rachel Maddow. If any Republican anywhere ever said a nice word about Strom Thurmond or Jessey Helms she would go out of her way to imply that those nice words are some sort of dog whistle endorsement of racism. One could use that very same logic to accuse Maddow of Homophobia. Maddow often gives high praise to FDR. What she either doesn’t know or intentionally ignores is FDR’s rampant homophobia, which manifested in the military policy of actively seeking out gay service members for dishonorable discharge and maybe even some criminal sanction.

    After progressive hero Woodrow Wilson signed the Articles of War of 1916 and 1920 that explicitly banned gay people from serving in the military for the first time in US history, his Assistant Secretary of the Navy FDR authorized an entrapment operation to out gay service members of the Navy. This incident became known as the “Newport Sex Scandal” and the overt discrimination against gay service members in the military flowed from these laws and actions.

  23. UFFDA says

    Did anyone notice the second (screwball) post identified as RATBASTARD? It had all the unimaginative signs of KIWI which is who it was – watch for claims that someone’s father was sodomized, or that it was incest, or that the father and family hated the son, or in a spurious act of clairvoyance we are informed of the posters real agenda, his past and his future. It’s so transparently KIWI who’s attempts at vengeance are so repetitively witless.

  24. Polyboy says

    The moment “left” and “liberal” are bandied about, you know the message nothing about “rights,” and it’s all about right wing propaganda.

  25. Skooter McGoo says

    And now a gay man who’s penis is so small that he needs a gun to feel man enough to by a burrito. Sad what these gun nuts have done to the USA.

  26. Jeffrey says

    Andy, yet again we have a thread that demonstrates the unfortunate inadequacies of your commenting system. Please move to a modern system involving logging in so we can save your site from the sock-puppeting and hijacking of others identities when they disagree.

  27. wheelie81 says

    Now we have gay gun rights? Why can’t we just have gun rights period? You’re either for them or against them. What your sexual orientation is has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  28. Fred says

    We were in grad school together, served on the Student Council together. He was always Republican and conservative. He was “bi” then. I gave him a hand job one night. It’s a nice one.

  29. John O says

    LITTLE KIWI, STFU, you Canadian hypocrite.

    As if people don’t have guns there, you freakin’ retard.

    I don’t respect any of the opinions here, you’re all weirdo extremist liars.

  30. MickyFlip says

    I fired some guns with the Pink Pistols division here. More out of curiosity and my boyfriend at time was very much into guns. When we met at some restaurant, I did have a major discussion with them about firearms, their reasons for needing one, etc. I’m still hesitant till now about firearms. But will say it was a great experience. I knew I didn’t want one when I got up to the .357 magnum. That scared the hell out of me. And they claimed the ammo was only half, at time.

    But it was educational and I know that owning a gun is a right in this nation. I do recognize that. I have to recognize that. My sister now owns an assault rifle. That didn’t settle well with me but we had a major discussion. I talked to everyone pro and anti views. All I asked is she get one of those hand scanning safes to put it away so she and her husband are the only ones who have access to it. So I don’t hold a grudge anyone who owns a firearm. All I ask is to please be responsible with it.

  31. Anev says

    Wow, this comment thread sounds like a bunch of straight people meeting to do harm to gays. Makes me sad that our community is devolving into what we hate.

  32. AG says

    The anti-gay activists would be much more successful in spreading animosity toward gay men if they widely publicized the towleroad comment threads.

  33. says

    You become a victim the moment you carry a gun. A victim, in that you now live in fear. you are armed. because you live in fear. you’re already a victim.

    an armed populace is a failed culture.

    we don’t win a culture war by carrying a gun – society’s lowest are the folks who carry guns. aim higher. we win the culture war through education and progressive outreach, and by coming out.

  34. MickyFlip says

    But @Kiwi. This nation was founded upon the principles upheld in belief to own a firearm for the sake of possible resistance from other nations. Granted, the times have changed since the days of yore. But it still stands that owning a firearm is a right and a privilege. I don’t own a firearm myself. But then, I don’t feel the need to want one. Others otoh.. not only is it for their protection. But it is considered their right. I can’t argue against their rights.

  35. anon says

    As I’ve mentioned before, your best weapon is a cell phone with a camera connected to the Internet. You can threaten to take the picture of anyone who’s menacing you and send it anywhere in the world, so that even if they physically get to your phone they can’t delete the picture. It should only take a few seconds for any thug to realize this would mean serious prison time for assault.

  36. Tap says

    What a bunch of whiny little bitches. Just because you can’t deal with self defense don’t piss all over those that are comfortable with it. I am sure all the pro gay cops out there will rush to your aid when you get bashed.

  37. KSoldier says

    For a group of people wanting to “stop the hate”… you sure do hate a lot.

    Give the guy a break, just because his lifestyle is a bit different than yours, you don’t have to fear him and try to restrict his rights! (by the way, I am talking about his right to enjoy shooting sports… kinda funny how that can be interpreted two different ways, huh?)

  38. Chuck Haggard says

    It must be a very human condition to hide behind an anonymous screen name and type all kinds of derp and vale hate. I thought this sort of thing only happened on some forums and blogs, but apparently the “tolerant” folks only tolerate when they agree with.
    So much for appreciating diversity.

    Anyway, I’m straight, but I think it’s awesome to see folks speaking up in this manner.

  39. says

    Guns only belong in the hands of the Government.

    I’m from Cambodia, and we never had to deal with any of this individual rights non-sense and nothing bad has ever happened to us at all.

  40. Derrick@yahoo.comn says

    @ “I’m from Cambodia, and we never had to deal with any of this individual rights non-sense and nothing bad has ever happened to us at all.”

    Oh, God. Rick just won’t stop, will he?

    I’m comin’ up to New YOrk City with a loaded #32 handgun. Yep, say your prayers, b1tch.

  41. Dave says

    I read Chris’ coming out statement on a couple of pro-gun sites, NRA and otherwise. Guess what, the absolute predominant response there was “so what, you’re a great shot and a positive representative of the sport”. Huh, stupid redneck jerks have a more tolerant attitude towards a gay guy than you have towards a shooter.
    So much for equal rights… Because here, on some fringe blog site where the “gay community” could choose to have his back, I’m disappointed by the absolute lack of tolerance shown by the majority of (supposedly “progressive, personal and equal rights oriented”) contributors to this site. You choose to insult, degrade, and slander another person for daring to legally own and enjoy firearms. To put it in redneck terms, since you feel that’s how all gun owners must behave, “Y’all are a bunch of shittalking intolerant basturds & ya fawkin’ suck as a support network.”

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