The Second Amendment, shooting sports and outdoor lifestyle is treasured by millions of Americans from all walks of life. Freedom Journal provides athletes, entertainers, public figures and more with a platform to connect with others, outside of their immediate fan base, and share their passion, respect, and appreciation for this lifestyle. These are their stories, in their own words, for you to hear. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the National Rifle Association of America.
Being the most populous state of the union gives the Golden State a few advantages: one of the largest economies in the world, an amazing tech sector, and some great weather to boot!
However, there are things about the Golden State I do not love, its gun laws being a major one.
I grew up around firearms and learned to hunt and to shoot at an early age. My father took over the family gun collection when my grandpa became sick. The guns were always in the hall cabinet - a constant tease to my future. Watching Tom Knapp and Jerry Miculek videos lit a fire under me and spawned the dream of shooting competitively. Throughout high school I was a member of a trap shooting team and that experience, the level of competition and the maturity that was gained, set me on the path to join the Marine Corps in 2012. The journey through boot camp, combat training, and then my duty station set my mind toward a more focused and fast paced level of shooting. In 2014 that mindset navigated me into the world of 3 gun shooting.
The competitive shooting community became my world and passion. I was dedicated, driven, and enthralled by it all.
So when Governor Jerry Brown signed eight new firearm laws into act in 2016, I read and re-read the laws trying to understand exactly how it would affect me as a competitive shooter. New "assault weapons" laws and magazine capacity regulations were a couple of the stated restrictions being enacted and not only would affect the shooting sports like USPSA, IDPA, and 3 gun, but our fundamental right for self-protection.
"... restrictions being enacted not only would affect the shooting sports... but our fundamental right for self-protection."The so called “high capacity magazines” being stated would now target someone like my father who’s collection he’s had for more than 20 years are now being confiscated by the state with no compensation, the truest definition of tyranny.
The AR, which stands for Armalite Rifle regardless what the media tells you, is the most commonly used rifle in our country. These new laws officials in California were making would not only impact the lawful owners of them, but for myself and other competitive shooters who use these types of firearms for sport. Now banned in their common form.
Featureless rifles, magazine locks reminiscent of the 1994 Assault Weapons ban are going to the new norm, combining that with limiting magazine rounds is a huge detriment to the possibility of a California based shooter winning anything other than a state based match. Suddenly overnight the prospect of driving or flying to an out of state match almost impossible. All of the standard capacity magazines, base pads and extensions that are almost required to win a major match that we have previously owned, now turn us into criminals.
"...unjust laws are put in place putting a black mark on every California gun owner..."Whether you own a firearm for competition, hunting, self-defense, or for recreational use, we all share one constant and unwavering truth - firearms have always and will always be a part of our lives and the sports we enjoy every day. However when unjust laws are put in place putting a black mark on every California gun owner, the conversation often turns to packing up and leaving the place many of us were born or have established our lives and families.
The five million members of the NRA are just a fraction of the tens of millions of gun owners in this country. There is no doubt that every one of us feel the same passion and pride for this way of life.
I work at a small family owned gun shop in Livermore, California. Many of us have exchanged hours of conversation about how to keep the business running, how to keep ourselves and customers safe, legal and happy, conversations about possibly packing up and leaving altogether, and even the future of the shooting sports and hunting in California.
Sadly, the efforts to push back have seemed to fall on deaf ears; petitions, meetings, marches and letters to state legislators have had no impact. Many feel as if the fight is a lost cause, no longer willing to push back anymore but rather contemplate moving out of state, and figuring out how to adjust and follow the new laws.
What these officials must know is that gun owners will continue to let their voices be heard. We look toward the national level for the assistance that we need and we as a unit will come together to show you just how ludicrous these laws you’ve put forward are. "...gun owners will continue to let their voices be heard." Borrowing the style from the outspoken Sir Winston Churchill, “We will fight on the ranges, we will fight in the courtrooms, in the voting halls and the picket lines. We must fight and we will, for if we don't it means not only the end of a sport, hobby or passion; it means the end of a way of life for many of us.”
I pray that every gun owner shares the same sentiment. We need to be bold with our stance from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., and remind the officials who are inflicting on our rights that we stand firm, we stand strong, and we stand united to preserve our freedoms. It is the hard work and undying spirit of men and women like you and me to work towards preserving our constitutional rights and to keep our country safe. Semper Fi!