Senator H.L. “Bill” Richardson, Political Maverick and GOC Founder, Passes Away at 92
Senator H. L. “Bill” Richardson, founder of Gun Owners of California and Gun Owners of America went home to be with the Lord on January 13, 2020. He was 92.
A nationally recognized, twenty-two-year veteran of the California State Senate, Richardson’s extensive career was primarily focused on the preservation and protection of the Second Amendment. An active hunter and outdoorsman, Senator Richardson was vigorously involved on the state and national scene for more than four decades.
Born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1927, Richardson fell in love with the beauty and grandeur of California following his graduation from the Cornish (Art) Conservatory in Washington. He was elected to the State Senate in 1966 and served for 22 years, during which time he grew concerned with repeated attacks on the 2nd Amendment and made the decision to form Gun Owners of California, a grassroots political action committee. Gun Owners of America soon followed and Richardson’s keen skill for mobilizing single individuals toward a common goal launched a very effective political movement that continues to this day. In addition to GOC and GOA, Richardson organized multiple political action committees, including the “Law and Order Campaign Committee” which led the successful charge to defeat Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other liberal members of California’s Supreme Court. Following his retirement from the Legislature in 1988, he primarily devoted his time to GOC and GOA.
Richardson’s legacy, however, extends far beyond the world of politics. He was an extraordinary hunter and dedicated to the conservation of California game. He was a prolific writer, penning fictional and non-fictional books alike. His book “Confrontational Politics” is the quintessential guide to approaching politics from a conservative perspective and is considered a virtual “game plan” for political wins.
He was also an inexhaustible gardener, planting from seeds and harvesting all manner of vegetables, plus tending a vineyard and acres of fruit trees and berry vines which he named for his grandchildren.
Richardson’s family was his greatest legacy; married to his beloved late wife Barbara for 57 years, he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He is survived by his daughter Laurie Paredes, her husband Sam, son Doug Richardson, his wife Karen, and his sister Jane Chastain and husband Tom. Predeceased by daughter Carrie Herbertson, he was beloved by his grandchildren Kristy Paredes Collins, Julie Paredes Benson, Samuel Paredes, Annie Herbertson Hodges, Lisa Herbertson Swartzendruber, Henry Richardson, Kate Richardson and his 12 great grandchildren.
A believer in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, he is at peace in his eternal home. Per his request, he will be remembered in a private, family service.
For additional information on the life of H.L. “Bill” Richardson, click here.
We are greatly diminished!
Praise God that he is with his Savior, and may Jesus give his family the Comfort only He can give in this time of loss.
People of the cut and caliber of “the Senator” pass our way too too seldom.
To say he will be missed is a big understatement.
The size of his contribution to our lives will only be realized now that he has passed through the veil and is in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ
I can say one day it will be my honor to see him once again.
A true and great pro 2A warrior. RIP Brother in Arms.
Senator Richardson was my mentor and first boss in the California Legislature, joining his staff in 1982. He was a tremendous Man of God, a conservative icon, who made a difference in California. It was a honor to serve him — twice!
Deepest condolences to his family on the passing of such a wonderful, dedicated and loving man, yes in deed Senator Richardson was the epitome of decency, patriotism, and humility. Now he can go hunting in heaven with his buddy Senator Dick Mountjoy.
Personally, I thank you Senator Richardson for always given me your endorsement when I ran for CRA and CRP Office, so grateful. RIP🙏🏽
Dear Bill Cardoza, Sincere condolences on the loss of your mentor and former boss Senator Bill Richardson, yes he was a wonderful human being, and now he’s in paradise joining his good buddy Senator Dick Mountjoy. RIP🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
A tremendous loss.
It can’t be overstated the impact he had on California politics particularly in the seventies and eighties.
CA. State Senator ret.
Condolences to the Richardson family. The Senator was my favorite client and I admired him greatly. RIP.
I share your grief at his passing, but I am overjoyed that he is now with Barbara in Heaven. He was a giant on the land and a mentor to me in every way.
He was one of the greats! I admired him at the Capitol and I learned so much from his books. It wasn’t until I met his daughter, Laurie, that I truly got to know the real HL. He loved his family so much and it showed. Barbara and he raised wonderful kids and that’s my fondest memory!
Readers Digest used to have – and may still have – a monthly feature titled “The most unforgettable character I’ve ever met”. That was H.L. – wonderful boss, mentor, friend and inspiration. The years I was able to spend with him are one of the highlights of my life.
I cut my political teeth working for Senator Bill Richardson as a staff member of GOC in the 1980’s. He was a demanding boss; but the roots I developed there grew into a 34 year (and counting) career as an NRA lobbyist and a life spent fighting for the Second Amendment. Thanks, Senator, for the springboard. My condolences to his family.
A profound loss is ours today. An unspeakably more profound gain is his.
“Death is swallowed up in victory!” R.I.P., H.L. —
Sen.Bill Richardson was a visionary. Without the support of the Gun Owners and Farm Bureau, I’d still be on the Mosquito Abatement Board. His sponsorship of the prison work bill, which I authored, was the first in a now long series of prison reforms. God bless you Bill for all of us that you fostered.
So sorry to hear this! My first boss in politics, hired at Gun Owners of California right out of college to do field work in Southern California, and my next two jobs on my career path after that came directly from the time I spent working and learning from him (and John Stoos).
God Bless HL and his family. His extended political family of which I was a small part for only a few years will march forward and continue the fight for our freedoms.
So sorry to hear about H.L.’s passing but he’s in a much better place. I considered him one of my mentors and had many conversations with him while serving in the legislature. He was a legend and an icon of the conservative movement and he loved our country dearly but was deeply worried about the trend he saw coming. It is now up to us to continue fighting for our God-given rights and constitutional heritage that he fought for for most of his life.
Bill, God rest his soul, will always be remembered as the “man who could and did.” He provided that strong and steady leadership that showed the way to thousands across California and the Country. Bills gone but his legacy will live forever with us who served with him especially.
Senator John V. Briggs, Ret.
Bill was a tremendous speaker and purveyor of conservative politics whose ingenuity created a political machine as he pioneered direct mail forever changing the political landscape during his tenure.
And all that said we can add Gun Owners of California which i am proudly a member of.
RIP Wild Bill, you left the world a better place.