By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Most California gun owner advocacy groups will not be joining an effort to overturn recently-enacted gun owner controls, the Associated Press reports. While state officials have cleared petitions for circulation, originator Barry Bahrami and his supporters only have until Sept 29 to amass the required 365,000 signatures on each of their referendum documents to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot. And with one notable exception, it appears they’re on their own.
Per the AP report, NRA will not be participating. Neither will the California Rifle and Pistol Association.* Likewise, the Firearms Policy Coalition has evidently distanced itself from the petitions.* [See Updates, below]
Per FPC lobbyist Craig DeLuz, the reasons for staying out are that “millions of dollars [are] needed to collect signatures,” membership groups have “limited resources,” and “his group is considering challenging the laws in court.”
Gun Owners of California appears to be an exception, with a Facebook post urging followers to “get involved today.” While there is no prominent further support effort being coordinated as yet on the GOC website, a comment posted on The War on Guns blog noted:
Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes has spoken about the petition on the radio. He has a weekly show every Monday from 8 to 9 am (KTKZ, Sacramento, 105.5 FM), and is a regular guest of Phil Cowan, whose show is on from 6 to 9 weekday mornings (KTKZ, 1380 AM). GOC’s Facebook page just posted information on the petition drive this morning. It’s already received 310 likes. That’s a good sign.
The real effort is being coordinated from the Veto Gunmageddon website, which includes sections explaining what the process is about and how you can get involved through volunteering, donations and sharing information. The group also keeps supporters apprised of developments through its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
At this writing, petitions are not yet available – the scheduled drive begins on Friday, August 12. In the interim, and after the drive begins in earnest, many gun owners will get a chance to see if they have what it takes to be part of a true grassroots effort.
Are the majority of established groups right to be cynical about the chances of first getting enough signatures to qualify and then prevailing in an election? Or is this something around which gun owners can independently rally around and pull together on?
The first question to explore: Are 365,000 valid signatures truly unattainable without “millions of dollars” to pay professional collectors? What would it cost each of the gun groups to inform their respective members and ask them to get involved, on their websites, on their social media sites, and to include mention of in correspondence/newsletters/alerts they send out anyway?
And what kind of personal effort would it take for each gun owner reading this to get up to speed on this and spread the word to at least 10 gun owner friends, and urge them to do the same? Is it really too much to ask gun stores and ranges to advise customers and collect signatures – or allow a space for volunteers to do that? And can’t the grassroots NRA Members Councils, holding regular meetings throughout the state, give it a few minutes on their agendas, and maybe invite a Veto Gunmageddon representative to speak?
If you’re a member of one of the “holdout” groups, remind them it’s not a question of expending all political capital and resources on this to the exclusion of other vital priorities; it’s simply a matter of devoting some attention and some support. Many hands and all that, and yes, gun owners are perfectly capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.
A thoughtful effort has been created to fight back by people who deeply care, and who don’t see many redress options left. Will enough gun owners at least try, or have they already, through deliberate inaction, preemptively surrendered to Disarmageddon? Dismissing it all with an anonymous “Molon Labe” comment may feel emotionally satisfying, but how many people who won’t lift a finger to do the easy stuff are actually prepared to have that challenge – and everything that comes with it – seriously answered?
* UPDATE: Per Firearms Policy Coalition:
We agree with CRPA and will support the veto referenda campaign by directing anyone who is interested in participating in or supporting the campaign to the appropriate party.
DeLuz never told or indicated to the AP reporter that pro-gun groups were “not seriously considering signing on to the campaign,” and FPC has never and will never speak for any other organization without their express permission. We condemn the AP for falsely representing our views (and those of other pro-gun organizations) on the veto referendum currently active in California.
That said, what is being requested of the groups is minimal and should not overly tax their resources or add a burden to their existing agendas.
UPDATE 2 (8/10): Per CRPA:
Some recent news reports have falsely stated that CRPA is not supporting this effort. That is incorrect … CRPA’s legal team has prepared an analysis of the process and the hurdles that will be faced. To read it, click here.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.