Thousands of California gun owners rallied to the call of San Diego-area businessman Barry Bahrami and his grassroots “Veto Gunmageddon” group’s effort to repeal seven of the state’s new gun control laws.
Within just a few days after Veto Gunmageddon’s Facebook page went live, it had already attracted more than 13,000 “likes.”
But Bahrami, chief executive officer of Commercial Network Services, will need millions of gun-toting California voters to accomplish the Veto Gunmageddon’s goal.
“I did it because the clock is ticking and it needed to get done,” Bahrami told Guns.com. “That is all. It is very much an effort of many individuals from all political affiliations coming together to fix the mess created by our elected officials.”
Veto Gunmageddon launched separate petition drives against each of the seven laws on Aug. 12. The petitions ask for ballot referendums that would ask voters in November to repeal the laws.
Six of the gun control laws in Bahrami’s sights were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) July 1. The seventh was signed July 22. Brown vetoed five others that he felt should be decided by voters.
The new laws that Veto Gunmageddon wants to stop cover assault weapons, ammunition sales and the registration of guns “personally manufactured or assembled,” along with new regulations regarding lost, stolen, or borrowed firearms.
“My goal in signing these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Gov. Brown wrote in his signing message.
Amanda Wilcox, a lobbyist with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the New York Times she especially liked one of the bills. It requires background checks for ammunition purchases.
“It can give us a handle on who has illegal guns in the state, as well as limiting access to ammunition by dangerous people who may have illegal guns,” she said.
Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, certainly doesn’t see any of the legislation as being positive.
He described the measures signed by Brown as “constitutionally-illegitimate laws passed by a patently illegitimate government that had the audacity to attack and criminalize millions of its own people in Stalin-esque fashion.”
Craig DeLuz, a spokesman for the Firearms Policy Coalition, said the group supports the petition drives launched by Veto Gunmageddon.
But DeLuz, who is also a lobbyist for the California Association for the Federal Firearms Licensees, the state’s largest group of firearms retailers and manufacturers, understands the political realities of life in the Golden State.
“Our prayers are with them. Unfortunately, it is not impossible but likely improbable,” DeLuz told Capital Public Radio in California.
“Organizers of this effort basically have about six weeks in order to gather about a half a million signatures per referenda,” DeLuz pointed out. “So we’re talking about a grand total of about 3.5 million signatures.”
Bahrami believes his people can get 465,000 signatures for each measure by Sept. 29 to surpass the 365,000 signatures needed to put the ballot referendum proposals before voters in November.
“What we’re doing is we’ve pretty much signed up every gun store and range in the state – most of them, and for them to reach out to their customers, it’s not really a big deal,” Barhami told KCBS-TV in San Francisco. “Don’t forget there’s 13 million gun owners in this state, and the power of social media is pretty good.”
Nick Kress, the owner of the Sacramento Armory, told KXTV that hundreds of people came into his gun store the first weekend the petitions were available only to add their names to the Veto Gunmageddon cause.
“Removing guns from law abiding citizens is in nobody’s best interest,” Don Ratkowski said as he signed the seven petitions. “Everyone is afraid of losing their rights.”
Bahrami said Veto Gunmaggedon is not affiliated with any national group, like the NRA. He described the organization as a group of people, like himself, who have volunteered to protect their Second Amendment rights.
“We are gun owners from all over California who watched with disbelief as the California Legislature bypassed normal procedure to pass strict and clearly unconstitutional gun laws,” reads a statement on the Veto Gunmaggedon website.
The National Rifle Association’s legislative lobbying arm, the NRA-ILA, may not be behind the Veto Gunmageddon drive, but it is assisting.
“While gun rights organizations, including the NRA, were not responsible for initiating this citizen effort,” said an NRA-ILA press release, “we have provided legal assistance and will be making the petitions available at events across the state in conjunction with our state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association.”
Whether Veto Gunmageddon gets enough voter support to accomplish its goals or not, Bahrami said, the group wants to go after the lawmakers who voted to approve the gun-control laws.
“We are exploring recalling public servants who have lost the integrity required to serve as representatives of the people of California,” Bahrami said. “They have an agenda that is downright dangerous to public safety and nullifies our constitutional rights.”
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