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?”
“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.