When the State Legislature sought to ban all handguns in California in 1975, the move generated strong support from elected officials and the main-stream media. Senator H.L. Richardson knew the liberals had thrown down the gauntlet, so he immediately went to work mobilizing enraged citizens from throughout the state – and Gun Owners of California was born. A direct mail attack was unleashed and the legislation was defeated.
Thus began Gun Owners long-standing and distinctive work in the state. Not only are we the oldest but we are the hardest hitting, toughest fighting pro-gun organization in California. We were the first pro-gun group on television, radio and in the newspapers when the ban of semi-automatic handguns, rifles and shotguns surfaced. GOC was the first gun group in the nation to produce a video for television that revealed the truth about semi-automatic firearms. And we were also the first to do television spots alerting the citizens to the anti-gun legislation in Sacramento.
Our success generated considerable attention, and in the late 80’s both federal and state regulators stepped in and made changes in how we – and other PACS – conducted business. A substantial financial cap was put on state candidate contributions (which impacted our ability to engage in direct candidate support) and the federal government made new rules on how we, as a non-profit could communicate our message. Even though life grew more difficult to “freely” operate politically, we will never retreat on our mission of defending the Constitution. Thus, we decided to “adapt, improvise and overcome” the new mandates.
GOC currently functions as a 501(c)4 non-profit. We operate exclusively from membership contributions and donations, utilizing our funds to actively educate on issues and candidates. We employ a strong, three-pronged approach to beating back the liberal assault on our constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms:
- AT THE CAPITOL: We are in Sacramento, fighting full-time in the legislative halls for gun owner rights – opposing bad bills, supporting good ones, influencing the legislature every day, day in and day out. We refuse to let the liberal, anti-Constitution hostility keep us from moving offensively and our longstanding “institutional knowledge” serves as a critical resource to policy makers.
- IN THE COURTS: We are fighting in the courts – in California and across the nation, having filed amicus briefs in numerous cases in California and other states as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- THROUGH THE ELECTIONS: And we are fighting at the ballot box – raising money to elect pro-gun candidates and to defeat the bad guys. We are scrupulous in our analysis and decision-making as to where these critical dollars would best be used. We know the fight is in the political trenches and victory will never be assured until the last anti-gun legislator is defeated.
Do you believe the Second Amendment guarantees the First Amendment, and each Amendment that follows?
If so, join the fight for real solutions to the issue of crime – with your help, we can make a difference without sacrificing our Constitutional rights and the ability of the law abiding to protect our homes, our families, and even our country.