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In the fight
By: Geoff Metcalf
Monday, July 19, 1999

I have not used this space to focus on California issues because this is, after all, WorldNetDaily. However, for good or ill, California historically has introduced a wide variety of things that have become national in scope. Therefore, I want to share and/or warn the rest of the nation of the extraordinary harm about to inflicted on law-abiding California residents and a grassroots effort designed to correct the myopic arrogance of a cabal of socialist power-freaks who were actually elected to office.

Governor Gray Davis is about to sign a so-called "Assault Weapons" bill (SB23) which despite previous gubernatorial vetoes has been as persistent as athlete's foot. This legislative bouillabaisse of leftist excrement will make ANY firearm that is capable of accepting a magazine an assault weapon. The litany of egregious specifics is far too long for this column.

The bill sailed through the Democrat-controlled California Assembly and the Democrat-controlled California State Senate and is now awaiting the signature of the state's Democrat Governor.

This insidious legislation closely mirrors the tragic failure Australia implemented last year. Australia spent some half billion taxpayer dollars to confiscate and destroy a bunch of weapons. Although non-compliance was high, over 600,000 weapons were confiscated and destroyed. One year later, the results of the Australian experiment were posted. One year after gun-owners were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed, including semi-automatic .22 rifles and shotguns, a program costing the government over $500 million, the results suggest what California can anticipate.

Observable facts, after 12 months of data:

  • Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.
  • Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.
  • Australia-wide, armed-robberies are up 44 percent (yes, FORTY-FOUR PERCENT).
  • In the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms are up 300 percent.
  • Figures over the previous 25 years show a steady decrease in homicides-with-firearms (changed dramatically in the past 12 months).
  • Figures over the previous 25 years show a steady decrease in armed-robbery-with-firearms (changed dramatically in the past 12 months).
  • There has been a dramatic increase in break - ins - and - assaults - of - the - elderly.
  • At the time of the ban, the prime minister said, "self-defense is not a reason for owning a firearm."
  • From 1910 to present, homicides in Australia had averaged about 1.8-per-100, 000 or lower, a safe society by any standard.
  • The membership of the Australian Sports Shooting Association has risen to 112,000, a 200 percent increase, in response to the ban and as an attempt to organize against further controls, which are expected.

I have had these stats posted to my web page since January. I have been trying to work behind the scenes to find "some" standard bearers to take on the California Democrats run amok. I have been lied to, stroked, BS'd and warned off by individuals and organizations we are conditioned to accept as our saviors.

In May I wrote a rant for a California online service outlining a procedural tool available to stall implementation of this bad bill, which you can read by clicking here. California's Constitution provides for a "Referendum." It is a little used and very difficult tool to qualify. However, if or when the proper hurdles are jumped, and the sufficient number of valid registered voter signatures submitted, a bad bill can be put to a vote of the entire state.

Governor Gray Davis will sign SB23 -- State Sen. Don Perata's assault weapons enhancement bill -- at a dog and pony show in San Francisco today. This is an ill conceived and dangerously written piece of legislation. This law would create unacceptable restrictions for hundreds of thousands of California residents. Law-abiding citizens who refuse to comply with this over reaching government mandate (and there will be a bunch of them) would become felons. Some Californians will recall those pistol and rifle magazines holding more than ten rounds were supposed to continue to be legal because they were "grand-fathered in" if they were manufactured before the date of the legislation that banned them. Sorry, Grandpa was just eviscerated by SB 23. On the day the legislation goes into effect, you're a felon if you have one. There also is a particularly pernicious new clause which no one seems to notice, added to the California Penal Code:

    12276.1 (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following:

    (1) A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any of the following. ... (It goes on to list such features as a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, vertical handgrip, folding or telescoping stock, etc.)

This terminal language is beyond duplicitous. It does NOT say, "has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and ALSO HAS any of the following." That might border on reasonable. As written, it refers to having the "capacity to accept a detachable magazine and the capacity to accept any of the following. On January 1, 2000 anyone possessing any magazine-fed centerfire rifle or carbine may be a felon.

We have the capacity and urgent need to correct this gross legislative abuse of power under the color of authority:

    "Pursuant to Article II, Section 9 of the California Constitution, a referendum is the power of the electors to approve or reject any statute enacted by the Legislature except urgency statutes, those calling elections or those providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual current expenses of the state. It is important to note that the entire title and summary, circulation, verification and certification procedures must be completed within 90 days from July 19, 1999, when the bill was signed and chaptered. If the referendum petition qualifies, it will be placed before the voters at the next regular special statewide election held at least 31 days from the date of certification."

In the wake of conspicuous silence from those who should be leading, I have been forced into the unenviable position of feeling compelled to do something.

  • Governor Davis is scheduled to sign SB 23 today (Monday, July 19).
  • Tuesday, July 20, I will submit a referral letter to Secretary of State Bill Jones.
  • The bill thence will be in effect "tabled" for 90 days, during which time I need to collect over 419,000 valid California voter signatures. We are hoping to be able to collect over a million signatures.
  • If we are successful, the law will be put on the next general election in California, and voters will vote to either agree with the governor and permit implementation of draconian absurdity ... OR vote to repeal the law.

We may lose this fight, and if we do, the other 49 states had best beware. However, we will fight. We may even win. More and more people realize that the over-reaching of a legislature pursuing an agenda far more liberal than the constituency they are supposed to represent exceeds the definition of arrogance.

This is more than just a gun rights issue. This is a Bill of Rights issue. We have established a new domain for the purpose of coordinating and managing the petition drive.

I had been most reluctant to take on this task. The big gun rights groups have been diffident to incur the wrath of Sarah Brady's hordes. My attitude is this: Law abiding gun owners and ANYONE who supports the Constitution and Bill of Rights is getting bulldozed. We are getting NOTHING from our leaders, nothing from our legislatures, and nothing from our presumed allies. I would rather get in the fight, and fight. Win if we can, or lose if we must, but at least make the gun-grabbing, liberty-eroding, freedom-hating SOBs pay some price.

This is going to be a very fast and totally grassroots effort. I have been told to form a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. I have been referred to several experienced and talented consultants and lawyers. I am not going that route. We need another 501-c-3 like a moose needs a hat rack.

To me, this is not just a Second Amendment issue. What California is doing, and what President Clinton and his co-conspirators are doing is waging war on the Bill of Rights and the very Constitution to which they swore an oath.

When an elected hypocrite swears a sacred oath to "preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic," and THEN becomes the very domestic enemy they have promised to protect us from, then they are at best guilty of fraud, or perjury -- at worst, they are deserving of our contempt and abandonment.

When the framers signed the Declaration of Independence, they wrote, "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." Don't we who have so benefited from their sacrifices owe them, our country, and our children at least some token of our respect? Our lives are terminal. Our fortunes fleeting. But to those who still embrace honor, that is as infinite and sacred as our souls.

Reprinted with Permission of Geoff Metcalf


Mr. Metcalf is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Veto The Governor initiative to get The Right to Keep and Bear Arms amended into the California Constitution.  

Hire Geoff Metcalf to speak at your organization, event, or group. For further information click here.

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I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. George Mason, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788)

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