For years California gun owners have felt helpless and hopeless. Year after year, another restriction, another ban, another registration, another hoop to jump through, more chances to get caught up in unclear and vague interpretations of law that could cost you your liberties and your very freedom.

Our only recourse was to donate to fund legal action after a law was passed, and decades later still have anti gun rights activist judges rule against the Constitution in favor of their own personal policy preferences. Or, if we were lucky enough to win, have our victory stalled or sent further up the judicial food chain.

We as gun owners are asked every time another gun control bill is introduced by the California Assembly or Senate to flood their offices with calls, emails, online petitions, etc… and we are ignored. They’d pass the bill anyway, because they’re anti gun and there’s not enough elected people who are pro gun to stop them anymore. Why would they care what the people had to say if we have no power to stop them?

But we did have the power all along, it was right there in the California Constitution – the referendum. The “People’s Veto” if you will. If a bill is signed into law, the people have 90 days to gather referendum petition signatures to put the law on hold until the next general election where the voters get to decide if the bill will actually become law or not.

On July 1st, the Friday before celebrating our Independence Day, the day we were supposed to be celebrating Liberty and Freedom, the day we told our tyrants we have rights, we are free to govern ourselves, and we aren’t going to live under your oppression anymore, our own tyrant here at the California State Capitol, Governor Jerry Brown, signed six gun control bills that restrict the rights and liberties of all current and future California gun owners, and later signed a seventh. He signed them after the other tyrants in the Assembly and Senate deplorably passed the bills using the “gut and amend” tactic, where they take a bill that has nothing to do with gun control, get it through committee, then erase the bill and write whatever they want in it, cutting the public out of the process.

In a gut punch to all California gun owners who actually pay attention to what the State does to our rights, it galvanized us into real action. The idea of a referendum was floated to put all seven laws up for a vote, something that not only had never been tried before, but was also widely spoken out against by the major players in the gun rights movement.

It would cost too much, they said. Gavin Newsom just paid nearly $7 per signature to signature gatherers just to put one anti gun proposition on the ballot costing his group $4 million… how could we waste precious resources on fighting these laws in court on a petition drive for not one but seven petitions without a guarantee of success? It would bankrupt them.

What wasn’t factored in was the motivation of good people being turned into felons overnight.

A man named Barry Bahrami took the idea of doing a referendum on all seven laws by the horns. Since no big name group was interested in doing a referendum, he teamed up with V.O.T.E. (Voters Organized To Engage) who helped him through the process of how to legally, logistically, and organizationally get the petitions out there to the public. For their help when nobody else would, he agreed to present two V.O.T.E. ballot initiatives along with seven gun referendum petitions and let the people decide which ones they signed.

This became personal to me early on when I was asked by an organizer who knew about me through the Tyrant Registry to be a content writer for what was now known as VETO GUNMAGEDDON. I didn’t know what they needed, but if it involved writing and it was for gun rights, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. If you wondered why I haven’t written any articles in awhile, VETO GUNMAGEDDON is why.

The next month and a half was spent working on the strategy to get the word out, to motivate people into action, to sign up volunteers, to get store fronts to register as signing locations, to raise money to print and distribute the petitions, getting Title & Summary from the Attorney General, creating the infrastructure to distribute and track petitions… all on volunteer energy.

Being all volunteer has its advantages and limitations. One of the advantages is volunteers don’t cost anything. We set out to raise only enough to print the petitions at cost, and have enough extra to distribute and print up banners and such. However, we found it was a struggle just to raise the near $50,000 to print the petitions. The thought was if people wanted petitions to sign, you’d better chip in to get petitions printed… this was our first “what the hell, people” moment. We were printing petitions on a down payment, and at the final hour it seemed the donation drives gathered enough steam to put us over the top to pay for the petitions.

On a side note, due to the nature and sheer volume of words of the laws written, we couldn’t have printable PDFs of the referendum petitions. This was a huge complaint that many people had, asking, “Why can’t we print our own and go collecting signatures on our own like we did with the Gray Davis recall?” We couldn’t. And we had to treat these printed petitions like they were made of gold, tracking who had how many at any given moment.

The biggest limitation of being all volunteer is its hard to get people to step forward when not compensated. You’d think protecting your rights, liberty, and property would be enough incentive, but unfortunately it isn’t. We get it, people have work, they have family, their kids are in school, they can’t drop everything. But even a few hours, or a weekend, anything to do something about everything we’re always complaining about…

It seemed at first we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the effort, but it became apparent very quickly that there were supportive spectators and then there were the few “all-in” die hard members of Team Veto. The best of the best stepped up to be our county hub leaders – the individual or family who would receive petitions, distribute them to the signing locations in their county, collect signed petitions, then verify and count. They were also tasked with getting volunteers in their county to witness signatures, to man booths at stores, gun shows, street fairs, and even walk door to door. In one county of 500,000 people, there were six volunteers. SIX IN A COUNTY OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE.

But you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. And our volunteers and county hub leaders did whatever they had to do, spent countless hours and days working to protect your rights. These were rights that were already scheduled to be taken away, and the only thing standing in the way of that were our sparse numbers of true volunteers.

But even before having our county hub leaders and die hard volunteers, we had to register signing locations. We had to search out city by city and personally contact each and every gun store or outdoorsman store and convince them to loan us a section of their store for our petition effort. I personally contacted over 200 Northern California stores to inform them of our effort, and thankfully they agreed. We ended up having around 700 signing locations statewide. They deserve as much gratitude for opening their stores to us, because they ended up being volunteers by default to witness signatures when others wouldn’t step forward.

We had the petitions printed, we had the signing locations registered, we had the county hub leaders, we had the volunteers… it was time to start delivering. A few die hards jumped in their trucks, stacked box after box of petitions, and headed out to make deliveries up and down the state. In just a matter of weeks, a rag tag bunch of amateurs with passion were able to build a statewide infrastructure to deliver, receive, and collect, and submit enough petitions for 1,000,000 signatures PER REFERENDUM. To call this effort unprecedented is the understatement of the year.

It was all there. All we needed was to spread awareness and get people to come out and sign. We did it on our own – on our own dime, on our own time. We paid our dues.

And it was like pulling teeth just to get organizations to simply mention the effort.

The mentions trickled in. An email here, a Facebook post there. Our big break was when Fox News did a story on us that got a lot of attention. It was shared by most of the large organizations and social media groups. Around the last week of active signature gathering, online ammo retailers finally began sending out emailers about our petition drive.

And emailers… we were sending out one million emails a day on our own. We had politicians who were sending out their own emailers to 80,000 supporters. When some organizations finally saw the momentum, they started sending their own emails out to their hundreds of thousands of members.

We spread our message through social media and word of mouth. I had my whole family go out and sign. I told all my coworkers to go the gun store that was literally across the street to sign petitions. I mentioned the effort to anyone I talked to in the course of my day.

And weeks into active signature gathering I’d ask some of these same people if they had signed yet, and I’d get “I will, I’ll get down there later and sign. Trust me, I’ll sign.”

It wasn’t until the last week when we decided to let unsigned petitions loose to anyone who wanted to collect signatures however they could that these stragglers signed… because I asked them, “hey, have you signed yet?”

“No……”

“Ok, I have them right here. Sign.”

If I didn’t have those petitions to put in front of their noses rather than have them walk across the street to sign, that would have been 10 less signatures. How many thousands of times must this have happened throughout this state? How many knew about the effort and did nothing?

We needed a minimum of 366,000 registered voters to sign… in a state of roughly 10 million gun owners, we got about 120,000.

700 statewide signing locations, millions of petitions, millions of emails… and people couldn’t get off their collective asses to come out and sign. 120,000, that’s not even 200 signers per location. Not to mention those who followed the effort and didn’t step forward to volunteer. Not to mention the collective silence from those who claim to be for gun rights up until the very end of the effort. Too little, too late.

I’ve been looking for someone to blame for this…. and I blame you, all of you who didn’t do enough. If you knew about us and you didn’t sign, of course I blame you. But if you feel even the slightest twinge of guilt, I’m talking to you. You didn’t do enough to protect rights that were already stripped from you. You didn’t take your last opportunity to do everything in your power to stop this.

You say, “I signed, I did my part!”… no you didn’t. That’s a slap in the face to everyone who woke up at 5am and finally went to sleep at midnight doing whatever their talents allowed for this effort. They are the heroes of this effort, and you should first thank them, then apologize. You took a free ride on the Veto Train. I’m not talking to you if you signed and brought 10 other people. If you feel like you did enough, thank you. This isn’t directed at you.

But now we all get to suffer together. Our California experience has shown that we’re more disposed to suffer than to act. Apparently we haven’t suffered a long enough train of abuses to throw off this tyranny. Why don’t you just turn in your guns now, Mr. Molon Labe, it’s not like we can count on you to go drive or walk down to the nearest gun store and sign a few pieces of paper, let alone stand side by side if the day ever comes to fight tyranny.

These laws will take effect now, some starting this upcoming January 1st. Congratulations. You will feel the loss of your rights very soon. Get used to it. It’s coming, whether you like it or not. There’s no debate, no discussion.

Neutered bullet button rifles, banned and registered as assault weapons. Background checks for ammo, no more buying online and shipped to your door, state keeps a record of your ammo. Banned possession and confiscation of your +10rd magazines. No homebuilds without serialization and registration, and better not get caught without. No lending of firearms even for lawful purposes.

Gut punch, isn’t it? VETO GUNMAGEDDON and all our volunteers who gave up every spare moment of their days for months gave you the ability to stop this, all you had to do was give just a little bit more of a damn. Enjoy your loss. Sucks, doesn’t it?

Now take that feeling in your lower stomach… that feeling of shame, failure, guilt, loss, knowing you had the chance to do more but didn’t… and do something about it. We’re giving you another chance to redeem yourself.

Yes, VETO GUNMAGEDDON IS GOING ON OFFENSE. We’ve been playing defense for so long; you don’t move forward playing defense. This time it’s on our terms.

We’re putting forward a ballot initiative for a Constitutional Amendment that recognizes and guarantees Californians the right to keep and bear arms. Most states have their own provisions that protect their citizens’ right to arms, except of course California. It would give us the Constitutional power to challenge any gun law this state passes, but conditionally allows the state to restrict the rights of violent felons or those who have been deemed mentally infirm.

And unlike the referendum, these petitions will be simple enough to print at home where you can PUT THEM UNDER THE NOSES OF THOSE TOO LAZY TO GET OUT THEMSELVES AND SIGN.

Follow the new effort at 2AforCA.org or 2A4CA.org. Or .com or .net. We’re making it that easy.

Give us a little time to get this up and running.

And don’t blow it this time.

Vote no on Prop 63.

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13 thoughts on “A word, regarding you and Veto Gunmageddon

  1. I do feel like I didn’t give enough. I’m pretty certain I physically collected, or motivated around 100 signatures. I went around So Cal this weekend collecting and dropping off petitions at the hubs, so I feel like I did something. But not as much as others…and clearly not enough.

    I won’t fail again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You Sir and the people who drove this fight and fought a good fight deserve great appreciation ( you all have mine). You have my gratitude, although I’m not a resident of CA I followed and put the word to my CA friends. Keep up the fight, because this first effort is only one battle in a war for your rights. Thank you, Shane Charley, Carson City NV

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Regarding the beginning of the process to file a new initiative to amend the California Constitution “to respect the right to bear arms,” this is exactly what we need to do, not be waiting for the Legislature and Governor to pass thing after thing and then try to fight them after they pass. While I supported Veto Gunmageddon, I wasn’t looking forward to either having to try to help do a people’s veto or try to convince people to donate to lawsuits to overturn NEW gun laws in California year after year after year – because it will never end!

    The answer to this problem is to get the State Constitution amended so that at least some of the gun laws already adopted are void and so that future ones can’t be passed in the first place. What is a good example of this actually where it has already happened? Idaho.

    Take a look at Article I, Declaration of Rights, Section 11, in the Idaho State Constitution: “Right to keep and bear arms. The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.” Idaho’s State Constitution has helped keep that state free.

    I am concerned about the statement of those who state that a state ballot initiative to amend the California Constitution should conditionally allow the state to “restrict the rights of violent felons or those who have been deemed mentally infirm.” While I do agree with the part where it talks about proposals to restrict the rights of violent felons, I don’t agree that proposals to restrict rights of the “mentally infirm” should be written into the state constitution. It wasn’t necessary in Idaho’s State Constitution and it certainly isn’t necessary in California’s Constitution either. There are already prohibiting categories in California law that have to do with this issue, that require under existing State and federal law that it is unlawful for certain persons to own and/or possess firearms, including: “Any person who is found by a court to be a danger to himself, herself, or others because of a mental illness; Any person who is found by a court to be mentally incompetent to stand trial; Any person who is found by a court to be not guilty by reason of insanity; Any person who is adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender; Any person who is placed on a conservatorship because he or she is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, or an impairment by chronic alcoholism,” for example.

    As a person with a disability (epilepsy) who is legally allowed to own firearms, I am very cautious and concerned about efforts of the State, or the Federal government (both of which we have had to fight back, successfully, over the past year) to restrict us from owning firearms. I certainly can’t support any effort to amend the State Constitution to restrict the rights of the so-called “mentally infirm,” and I think it should be easy to see how the State would easily use that against people. The State constitution should be used to establish a baseline that limits what the state can do while also providing clear protections and declarations of people’s rights. It shouldn’t be used as an instrument to remove people’s rights.

    I wish to take a moment to point out something about how businesses can and should support the new effort to amend the State Constitution and how this will be critical to our rights and indeed to people’s very survival. In point of fact, part of my business which I am planning to launch, The Freedom Pathway, which will be able to be found at thefreedompathway.com and thefreedompathway.org (no content is up yet as this is still being developed) will provide in one aspect some links for people who want to strengthen their state’s constitution (not just California’s, but in other states too) — for those who want to make their state’s Constitution more like Idaho’s so as to ensure that California’s (fascist) policies do not creep across the United States. It may also provide recommendations for how people can keep their state from becoming more invasive in other areas such as in family life, the internet, and so forth. This will be the completely free aspect of my site, oriented towards freedom and advocacy for the same. On the other hand the business aspect of my site will be oriented toward sale of outdoor gear online so as to help sustain myself and my family. While my business ‘The Freedom Pathway’ is not yet launched, I will certainly be monitoring Barry Bahrami’s progress and I am committed to including and ensuring that a link to his efforts will be incorporated into my site when it is launched, so visitors to my site will see what he is doing and can support it. I encourage everyone do the same with the website for your businesses, if you are business owner(s).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry but I don’t think I’m to blame, or the other volunteers that did get signatures. I helped bring petitions to gun stores, one club, and went door to door on just enough space to fill one sheet of each. No I think the realwriteringer is wrong here. The blame belongs to the NRA. It belongs to GOA. It belongs to organizations like Calguns.net who wouldn’t bother emailing their membership – they wouldn’t even PM them. Yes I’m bitter and haven’t been back to calguns since its loser human in charge wants everyone to join his list and then he does nothing with it. I’m tired of donating to organizations that do NOTHING but pay attorneys and “HOPE” to win our rights in front of a leftist judge. This is not working any more. Volunteers managed 120k signatures and $50k in donations in 8 weeks. While all these other groups just want to hire lawyers. I’ve given the NRA enough for life time membership and they’ll never see another dime unless they change their ways.

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  5. In and effort to amend the California State Constitution; as I read Barry’s comments we need a short and simple amendment that can be printed by anyone and easy for all to grasp and sign. I’ll throw this out there for discussion. It is 57 words:

    The people of California are free to own and bear arms a right granted in the U.S.Constitution and shall not be infringed. This amendment forbids city, county or special district regulation to interfere with this right. This amendment eliminates regulatory restrictions at the state level that exceed federal regulations on the ownership firearms and ammunition.

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    1. Where you propose an amendment that would eliminate certain regulatory restrictions, such that,

      “This amendment eliminates regulatory restrictions at the state level that exceed federal regulations on the ownership firearms and ammunition,”

      the problem I see with that language is that it leaves open the possibility that any federal law or rulemaking could then still allow for state restrictions to increase to that level.

      This is why there needs to be a hard line drawn, where:

      1) the State Constitution would be amended so that at least the gun laws recently enacted (from July 2016 forward) are null and void, and

      2) the State Constitution would also need to be amended so that future laws restricting our rights can’t be passed, because the State Constitution would need to expressly prohibit their passage.

      That is why the Idaho Constitution is written the way it is. It is written with a very simple and short provision that explicitly forbids the State government from interfering with people’s rights. The key statement in the Idaho Constitution is:

      “No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition.”

      Now imagine if those few words were approved by the voters of California as part of an initiative to amend the California Constitution. Of course the lawyers would need to figure out if that one sentence would be enough to make the many numerous unconstitutional laws of the State null and void, or if that sentence would only be able to prohibit the State from enacting future laws of that type (and if we’d need to add additional language to the initiative in order to nullify the unconstitutional gun laws enacted in July 2016). In any event, we’d certainly be better off with such language in our State Constitution.

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  6. I was the first to sign at my LGS. Then I went home and called or emailed everyone I know and told them where to go to sign. I even offered to give people rides. Out of all the people I contacted, not one would expend the effort to go sign. That was day one.
    Since I am in the middle of moving, I was on the road for almost 4 days but continued to email and text when I stopped. Nada.
    I even made calls while unloading from 1900 miles away to remind people to go sign.
    Again, apathy.
    On the way back, I did the same. No results that I know of.
    People wonder why I am leaving california, my home for over 50 years. Frankly, too few here give a shit about anything anymore.
    I leave with my last load this week.

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  7. If I could get a do-over I would’ve spent a lot LESS time lobbying / ranting / sharing pro-gun stuff on social media and message boards and a lot MORE time collecting signatures. I realized pretty late that my bitching on facebook and arguing with anti-gun shit-disturbers who enjoy pushing my buttons may have FELT good but it wasn’t productive. That being said, I returned from vacation on Aug. 8th 2016 and basically did not go back to work until today. That’s 7 straight weeks dedicated to pro-2A advocacy FULL TIME with no paycheck. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but more productively. Yesterday at the hub I said “if I could get someone to pay my bills I would do this FT for the rest of my life.” I was so disappointed when I heard the news that we didn’t make it, but James Bennett’s words were inspirational in pointing out the remarkable benchmarks that we DID achieve and can rightfully be proud of. That further steeled my resolve and as I was overwhelmed with the realization that “we may have lost the battle but we WILL win the war”, James said out loud exactly what I was thinking …. “I’m all in and we won’t STOP. We’re in it to win it.”. Before I read Barry’s ideas for next steps I was asking “what about a post-mortem, what did we learn from our mistakes so that we can adjust and score the win next time?”. In addition to going on the offensive as mentioned above, I think we need to do a few things:

    1) We MUST make support of the 2nd Amendment the PRIMARY litmus test for EVERY candidate for EVERY office going forward, at ALL levels of gov’t.. And we need to announce it loud and clear as well: If you are holding and/or running for office, BE ADVISED: if you do not actively support the 2nd Amendment (vocally and by voting record) you WILL be removed from office and/or lose the election. Period. We are WATCHING YOU.

    2) We must pass a law such that politicians must NOT be allowed to write legislation about something they know little or nothing about. (see Kevin De Leon’s “ghost gun” video on YouTube)

    3) We must do everything we can to promote the shooting sports by taking our friends shooting and holding organized group range days for newcomers and experienced alike.

    4) We must be more active in the petition efforts and keeping ourselves up-to-date on gun legislation.

    5) As representatives of the larger gun community in CA, we must be on our best behavior at all times. Following the penal code, watching our language, and epitomizing the “good guy with a gun”.

    6) We must leverage the NRA and other pro-gun groups to which we pay dues to PONY UP and pay for more ad time, and to run it earlier and for a longer duration.

    7) We must vote down bad laws in November and organize a voter outreach that debunks the myths in the laws BEFORE election day.

    For my part I have started a business called “The Always Outdoorsman”. We will be offering a lot of trips and activities of interest, but the most over-arching goal is to covert every single eligible citizen in California into a voting Pro-2A shooting sports enthusiast. To that end I will soon start taking the classes required to become an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.

    http://www.TheAlwaysOutdoorsman.com

    I am very proud to have worked with all of you on this valiant effort, and I look forward to redoubling my own personal efforts in the next round. Bring It On !!!

    Cheers !!!!

    Lary James
    The Always Outdoorsman
    (408) 772-2779
    ljames.gsmi@gmail.com

    Like

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