SACRAMENTO -- A group of activists representing gun owners said Thursday that they may launch recall campaigns against a handful of Democratic lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles), over the passage of several gun-control laws this year.
A final decision on which lawmakers will be targeted is weeks away, according to Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. He said Tim Knight, who was part of a successful recall effort in Colorado, is advising Californians on a strategy, along with experts such as Jennifer Kerns.
When asked which lawmakers might be targeted, 2nd Amendment activists mentioned Democratic Sens. Ben Hueso of San Diego and Norma Torres of Pomona as possibilities, along with Democratic Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego and Pérez.
Paredes acknowledged that Speaker Perez is leaving office because of term limits anyway next year, so a recall would be symbolic. "It's just to tick him off, send a message that people throughout California are upset about what legislators are passing on 2nd Amendment rights," Paredes said.
The threats made in front of the Capitol garnered a swift denunciation from the California Latino Legislative Caucus, which noted that the five lawmakers mentioned are Latino.
"Any organization intent on abusing the recall process for political gain should be ashamed of itself," said Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). "The shame is even more stark and pronounced when the strategy targets only Latinos. Californians will not stand for any campaign that is clearly racist and devoid of any political or legal legitimacy."
Torres also denounced the recall threats made by activists and Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, a potential candidate for governor.
"The fact is I have never supported any effort to strip responsible gun owners of our 2nd Amendment rights," Torres said. "What I have supported are policies aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of murderers, criminals and in places where they pose an obvious threat to public safety. The voters in my community are smart and will recognize that this is nothing more than a political stunt."