“The Second Amendment in California. Elections, Courts, and the Capitol”
Report by Betty Sakai
Sam Paredes provided his Forum audience with down-to-earth practical information on how to connect with liberals and how to win in verbal confrontations. This information is available inexpensively in books published by the Gun Owners Foundation: Confrontational Politics,and Tea Party Talk ($5 each) by Senator H. L. Richardson (Ret.), 2009, and California Gun Laws ($15) a resource book listing state and federal gun laws that can also be purchased from Gun Owners of California, 1831 Iron Point Road, Suite 120, Folsom, CA 95630, telephone 916-984-1400, email www.gunownersca.com. To obtain updated information, Paredes recommended attendance at the Golden States Second Amendment Council Meeting held regularly in San Jose, CA, at Harry’s Hofbrau -- contact Mark Towber @ 408-839-4768.
The Conservative Forum’s Vice President of Programs, Joel Fine, introduced Sam Paredes by noting that Martin Luther King reminded his listeners of the right to defend one’s home and person, guaranteed and passed down through the ages. Clint Eastwood supports strict gun control –if there is a gun around he wants to be in control of it. A Heritage Foundation historian has stated that each person has a basic, natural right to self-defense, that the Second Amendment does not grant a new right but recognizes the natural, unalienable right to self-defense. Spontaneous laughter emitted from the audience when Joel Fine paraphrased Alder’s comment that any woman who demands gun control legislation is like a chicken rooting for Colonel Sanders.
Sam Paredes, working with Gun Owners of California for 34 years and Executive Director for the past 14 years, is leading the Campaign Committee dedicated to defeating anti-gun politicians and replacing them with solid pro-gun leaders. An expert in gun laws in California, Sam has testified at hundreds of legislative hearings, lobbied the Department of Fish and Game, the California Department of Justice, and has been interviewed by FOX news, ABC World News Reports, and dozens of radio and TV stations throughout California. An expert in effective communications, Sam Paredes has given over 130 workshops and presentations to gun clubs, conservative organizations, and Tea Party groups in California and throughout the western states. He served two governors as an appointee to the California Trade and Commerce Agency and was a co-owner of a rifle manufacturing company based in El Dorado County.
Born in Los Angeles in 1956 to immigrant parents, Sam attended Pepperdine University on a scholarship, graduated with degree in political science in 1978, and studied at the Foundation for Economic Education in New York. He has been married to his wife Laurie for 36 years and they reside in Shingle Springs, California. He is an avid sportsman and enjoys shooting of all types, hunting, fishing, golf, and traveling with his family. He is proud to be a volunteer first responder with the Lathrop Fire Protection District, is a life member of NRA and CRPA, and a charter member of the Granite Bay Safari Club. He serves as a worship leader in his church and directs an a cappella singing group in the gold country foothills.
Sam Paredes is front and center on the issue of gun rights. He reminds us that government does not give citizens gun rights. Gun rights already exist. These rights have existed since this country was formed. Quoting the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The operative phrase is “shall not be infringed”. Government does not have the right to prevent any citizen from exercising their Constitutional rights. Gun owners are not the criminals. Gun owners are the people the patriots who formed this country created this country for. Responding to the question of how government has been successful in limiting gun rights, Paredes answered that it is an unfolding process of educating citizens and politicians and reforming legislation.
Providing a bit of history concerning gun ownership support in California, Paredes stated that Veterans of California is the oldest political action committee in the country. The first bill to ban guns was introduced in 1975 by a Southern California Assemblyman. Senator H.L. Richardson figured the lefties out and a political action committee was formed. From 1976 to 1989 ‘G.O.P.’ stood for ‘Gun Owners Party’. With contributions from over 300,000 gun owners, candidates received 25% to 100% of what they needed to get elected in California. So effective was this committee that the left-leaning state legislature felt compelled to pass legislation to make Gun Owners of California less effective. The amount of contributions now permitted any candidate is restricted to $3,900. Unions are, of course, exempt.
It was at this juncture --when financial contributions were blocked -- that the Gun Owners political action committee began to realize that the gun owners themselves -- not the money – are the best resource. Citing examples of the power of people surmounting money, Paredes cited one example of the replacement last year of the State Senate seat in Fresno-Bakersfield, in a heavily Democrat District. The people made the difference.
Answering questions from the Forum audience, Paredes commented that Mahatma Gandhi was one of the world’s premiere gun rights advocates. Asked what we should do when people immigrate to the United States from countries that have no Constitutional gun rights, Paredes answered, “Talk to them. It is our responsibility to educate them.”
Working with police chiefs appointed politically he lamented is one of the most difficult things to do because they are beholden to the political establishment. Sheriffs on the other hand -- being the only elected law enforcement officer—are generally more amenable to working with constituents. Sam added that it is a continual education process, that in all his years working for California gun rights, he had never seen a sheriff testify or write to the legislature or governor until last year. Last year he saw many sheriffs testify, members of the California State Sheriff’s Association. There remain a few sheriffs (in Santa Clara County and in Southern California) who continue to hold on to imaginary vestiges of personal power to selectively determine who can and who cannot receive a gun permit. These sheriffs, he said, will need be sued.
He then discussed current pending legislation and gave Forum participants a list of the ten (10) Bills currently moving their way through the California Legislature – all designed to restrict the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. One of these Bills: CA S-53 (Leon), requires a permit to buy ammunition, to purchase it, trade it, or gift it. CA S-53 has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly. Jerry Brown, a strong anti-gun advocate -- unlike his father Pat Brown who shot skeet at home on his land -- has been impervious to counsel from Sam Paredes and will sign any legislation that will restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. California Legislative actions are oppressive because they erode and restrict the Constitutional rights of gun owners and provide criminals advantage and opportunity. Criminals do not obey the law. Criminals easily obtain ammunition by simply driving into Nevada. 1000 rounds, Paredes said, can be used up in about 45 minutes of skeet or target shooting and this is “almost excitement” for him. So restrictive has anti-gun legislation in California become that gun manufacturers and many manufacturing jobs are moving out of California.
In summary, Sam Paredes provided in his presentation an outstanding service to Forum members and guests. He provided Conservatives with much needed information on how to combat and win with Liberals by offering them the books written by Senator Richardson and the information provided in the book on California Gun Laws – all purchasable at nominal cost. He provided a list of anti-gun measures opponents of the Second Amendment are pushing through the California Legislature. He invited Conservatives to attend the August 16th barbecue event of the Gun Owners of California to be held in Morgan Hill, CA. He invited Conservatives to update their information by attending the Golden State Second Amendment Council meeting when it is held in San Jose, CA. For all his many ongoing contributions, the forum audience gave Sam Paredes high approval -- a standing ovation!
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