By Andrew Mendez
A nearly 500-person strong contingent of pro-gun individuals gathered in Anaheim Saturday to protest recent anti-gun laws in California. Standing in temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, individuals holding signs and wearing pro gun T-shirts came to the event to make their voices heard.
Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown, signed into law seven anti-gun bills shortly after a special session (nicknamed “Gunmageddon” by pro-gun groups) was utilized to fast track them to his desk.
Despite the Governor receiving thousands of calls, faxes, emails and letters urging him to veto the bills, he quickly signed six of them into law, just a day before he left for vacation.
This sparked anger and outrage among California gun owners, already frustrated with the significant amount of gun laws on the books. These anti-gun laws are some of worst in the nation. That spurred the organization of multiple pro-gun rallies around the state. A similar rally took place in Los Angeles. This weekend, a rally is scheduled to take place in San Diego.
These rallies are intended to wake up and empower California gun owners. The California pro-gun grassroots needs a renaissance. The cause is not lost, but people need to get out from behind their computer screens and in front of their legislators.
Boris Kogan, an individual with no affiliation to any specific gun rights group – not even the NRA – organized the event. It was organized on Facebook, online gun forums and pro-freedom websites. Kogan obtained a permit for the rally and met with the Anaheim Police Department who were more than accommodating.
Representatives of six separate organizations were invited to speak.
Kogan, the first speaker and master of ceremonies, explained how he came to this country as an immigrant, not learning English until he was older. He explained the deep love he had for his country, specifically our freedoms. Speaking to rally participants, he expressed the great frustration of many California gun owners with the number of gun laws imposed on the state’s gun owners. He also spoke about his hopes for the success of six referendums which are being prepared to combat the recently signed anti-¬gun laws.
The last speaker of the event was Nicki Stallard, speaking on behalf of the Pink Pistols, a pro-gun LGBT group. Stallard spoke passionately about their organization and explained the now personal fight between her and lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom, a strongly anti-gun politician, had recently used a quote from Stallard and her photo to suggest that the NRA is exploiting a trans person for political gain (and a goal he abhors – an individual’s rights to keep and bear arms). Stallard, who has no affiliation with the NRA, took great offense at Newsom’s cynical tactics and had taken to Facebook to respond to Newsom. Newsom’s bravado proved to be limited to lobbing rhetorical grenades and running. He did not respond.
I attended the event on behalf of calguns.net, an online California based gun forum and spoke about not only the continuous effort to fight the laws already on the books but also the history of California’s early gun control laws and their origin with early settlers’ attempted to disarm Native Americans as a way to facilitate taking their land.
To me, this fight is personal. Being a California native and a father to four daughters and one son, the fight is not for me, but for my grandchildren who haven’t yet been born. I envision a date in 40 years, when I can sit down and tell my grandchildren that I was part of the great California gun rights battle, ensuring their freedom.
Andrew Mendez is a gun rights activist and organizer in Southern California.