East County News Service
January 24, 2017 (Santee) – The San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a Santee-based political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, reports it has signed up more than 500 members in its first full year of operation.
In a 2016 year-end report to members, Michael Schwartz, executive director, SDCGO, said the PAC raised more than $200,000 in the calendar year. Money was raised through sponsorship and membership dues, which range from $20 per month to $1,000 annually.
In addition, Schwartz said the PAC’s weekly e-newsletter is sent to more than 3,000 subscribers. E-newsletter content has included news and information on gun safety classes, FAQs on new gun laws, volunteer recognition and upcoming events. Some SDCGO-sponsored events, including small gun shows, fundraising dinners and holiday parties, have drawn up to 450 people. Other events have included monthly sporting clays shoots, social gatherings and pistol, rifle and shotgun experiences taught by professional instructors. Also, the PAC’s Facebook page has received about 2,500 “likes.”
“Since the day we started, we have been creating positive change with meaningful and effective advocacy,” said Schwartz, who lives in Santee. “We have proudly served to defend the rights of law-abiding citizens, stand strong in support of the Second Amendment and oppose senseless gun control laws. We’ve won a few and lost a few, but we will continue our efforts to protect the Second Amendment on a local level, which is our main focus. The best way we can support state and national gun rights organizations is to support local elected officials who support Second Amendment rights.”
Other 2016 highlights, noted Schwartz, included a July press conference held at the
San Diego County Administration Building where a group of local elected officials, business owners, and community leaders voiced unanimous opposition to a series of new overreaching gun laws signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown along with a statewide proposition featuring misleading claims about crime and public safety.
In the recent November election, Schwartz said a number of endorsed candidates won seats in city and school board election races. SDCGO-endorsed winning candidates included: Jack Feller, reelection to the Oceanside City Council; Amanda Rigby, reelection to Vista City Council; Michael Morasco, reelection to Escondido City Council, District 4; Keith Blackburn, reelection to Carlsbad City Council; Dane White, Escondido Union High School District; Lee DeMeo, Fallbrook Union High School District; Richard Bailey, mayor, Coronado; Mike Diaz, Chula Vista City Council, District 4; Kristine Alessio, reelection to La Mesa City Council; Jim Miller, Cajon Valley Union School District.
In December, SDCGO announced the addition of attorney John Dillon, with the law firm of Gatzke Dillon and Ballance LLP, as its in-house legal counsel. Dillon offers free consultation to SDCGO members, including gun owners and gun shop owners, on any firearms-related legal issue.
“In 2017, we will continue to call attention to the aggressive effort to significantly limit or eliminate ownership and the use of firearms and the firearms industry in violation of the Second Amendment,” Schwartz said. “We plan to stay busy as we uphold the right of gun owners, oppose attempts to infringe on the rights of the people to keep and bear arms and advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime.”
Founded in November 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. For more information, visit www.sandiegocountygunowners.com.