The first meeting of San Bernardino County Gun Owners had a rousing start last night, with over 60 people showing up. After a Welcome and Thank You for coming, we opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Mission of San Bernardino County Gun Owners is identical to all of the 3 other County Gun Owner PACS, to identify Candidates for public office at the local level, and to help get them elected. Local offices are critically important to our mission of restoring and retaining our rights for 2 big reasons.
- The anti gun movement is active on every front and at every level of government. Bloomberg is spending $10M to run a :60 second ad in the Superbowl about taking away your guns, and it’s name, Everytown, is a clear statement of their focus. We must learn to beat them in this game if we are to win.
- Local government is the breeding ground for politicians that go on to State and Federal Government. Congress or Senate candidates start their political careers on Water and School Boards and City Councils. We must identify candidates and officials that are Second Amendment supportive and help get them elected and to promote their careers, and to make the right decisions on local ordinances and rules.
Michael Schwartz, Executive Director of San Diego County Gun Owners, gave a personal introduction of our very special guest speaker, Senator Brian Jones. Senator Jones started his political career in Santee, CA where he served on the City Council. Michael Schwartz was so impressed with what he heard, that it inspired him to move his family to Santee.
Brian became one of the founding Board Members of the SDCGO, and has gone to serve in both the Assembly and the State Senate. He is now running for the 50th Congressional District. Brian is an elected official that gets it, he believes that the Constitution is the Law of the Land. He reminded us that the Second Amendment, which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is the only amendment to the constitution that specifically states that right “shall not be infringed” Brian answered questions from the group, and also asked for support in his campaign. SBCGO cannot endorse or financially support candidates for State or Federal positions, but you can and should by going to his campaign website at www.ElectBrianJones.com
In an organizational meeting, the most pressing matter is to get a clear understanding of our mission and to outline a vision for the future, and how we are going to get there. San Diego already forged a tool that has been extremely effective, and the best way to create a clear vision of what lies ahead is to take a look at the tools and practices that San Diego has employed over the last 5 years to make a difference. Michael told us the story of how the organization was founded and shared some of the big wins that happened in San Diego in large part to SDCGO. A few of those wins he talked about were:
- Concealed Carry Permits- 2 years ago, there were only 1150 CCWs in San Diego County with a population of 3 million people. Sheriff Gore fought against issuing CCWs in court for 8 years, and won an important 9th District case which ruled that having a CCW was not a right afforded under the California Constitution. SDCGO found who the major donors were in Sheriff’s election efforts, and by applying political pressure through, persuaded Sheriff Gore to adopted a new policy that has issued a little over 2000 in about a year and a half. That number is still growing every month, and Sheriff Gore is now proud of his new policy that he promotes it.
- The standard magazine lawsuit was filed on behalf of a San Diego resident, which required that it be heard in Federal District Court in San Diego. Judge Roger Benitez made the landmark ruling that created Freedom Week.
- The AR lawsuit that is currently being heard also in San Diego, and luck would have it that Judge Benitez is also hearing this lawsuit.
- San Diego County Supervisor’s Board made an interpretation of a law that would have prevented shooting on BLM land located in San Diego. SDCGO started exploring possibilities of resolving the matter, and through a Navy Seal that was a SDCGO member, a close connection was discovered to the Secretary of the Interior, and after a few phone calls, BLM asserted their authority over the land and declared that the County had no right to ban shooting there.
- Media Presence-SDCGO is called on frequently by the media to speak on gun and 2A issues, as well as being cosponsors of a weekly 2 Hour Radio Show called Gun Sports Radio. Getting our message out in the media is essential to begin reshaping the narrative around guns.
- SDCGO became aware of the desire for self protection by women, and created the program #NotMeSD. The press event attracted every TV news station in San Diego, and they had 187 women sign up for the program as a result of that single press release. They are still working down the list to assign woman to a coach, who is also a woman, who guides them through the process of selecting a gun, training, and the CCW process if they want it.
- SDCGO hosts the Second Amendment Celebration Dinner, coined Gun Prom, where they present awards to individuals that make a difference in the 2A community. Media covers the event, and it has grown every year, this year there will be 812 seats people attending. You can get more information on this event at gunprom.com , Ask to be seated with the San Bernardino or Riverside tables.
- Monthly CCW, Shooting Socials, and Shotgun events throughout the County
- 4 Meetings spread throughout the County that have the same content and messaging
Our plan is simple, follow the same game plan that has worked so well.
SBCGO is proud that we have been evaluating candidates for the March Primary, and has already endorsed 2 Candidates for County Supervisor, Col Paul Cook in the 1st District and Dawn Rowe in the 3rd District. Both have outstanding Second Amendment views and track records. We are also pleased to endorse Henry Nickel for San Bernardino City Ward 5. We are continuing to evaluate other candidates, and urge you to give us your views if you know any of the 39 other candidates running for office, or know of their 2A views. We will keep posting updates to our Endorsements on Facebook and our website.
A question was brought up about the Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions being adopted in some communities, asking if we planned to pursue a Resolution in our communities. While such a resolution should send a strong message to legislators, most of them have little enforcement consequences. Michael pointed out that even Needles, which also attached a requirement that no funds be allocated to any gun laws that infringe upon the Second Amendment, was not binding on other law enforcement agencies such as DOJ or CHP. San Bernardino has 24 separate incorporated cities spanning over 20,000 square miles. Getting to all the Cities with a Second Amendment Sanctuary message, is going to be difficult, but we have a incredible opportunity with the County Supervisors. There are only 5 County Supervisor seats, and we have already endorsed 2 candidates with very strong 2A positions that are supportive of a Resolution. We are still evaluating candidates for the 5th District and Supervisors Rutherford and Hagman for their Second Amendment stance.
I am thrilled that 23 new San Bernardino members and 3 Riverside members joined our ranks at the meeting, including a powerful leader of the Republican Central Committee, Jan Leja, who promised her support, and even to help with training newly elected officials in their political careers.
Many of us headed over to Senator Jone’s reception at Escape Craft Brewery for more conversation over a beer, arguably the best way to have a talk!
The level of enthusiasm and willingness to help in this fight for our rights sure impressed me of the commitment and importance. It also restored my confidence in the belief that…
Together, We Will Win!
Loren Campbell, Executive Director