A young man never forgets the day his father tells him to check out the new gun he keeps under his pillow at night, walking in his room, picking up the pillow, and it's an AR15.
Growing up, guns weren't a big part of our lives. My father bought me a BB gun when I was 8 years old, and we set up balloons, paper plates, or coke cans in the backyard to destroy. But that was pretty much it. He never owned guns, at least not to my knowledge, but he was a staunch Conservative so I knew what his views were on the subject.
Though it did come as a surprise to see what I was seeing, when I was expecting maybe a titanium hammerless revolver or something that he'd mentioned in passing. I had never known anyone with what he was already referring to as an "evil black rifle", nor seen one in person up until this point.
It was 1999, and he had just run out to the gun store at the 11th hour to buy a rifle he wasn't going to be able to buy after the new year; he along with everyone else who was paying attention at the time, which led him to paying close to $1500 for his soon to be banned rifle. He said the state wanted it to be registered as an assault weapon or he'd go to bed on a December 31st and wake up January 1st a potential felon, his only crime being that he wouldn't do what the state told him to do.
Try to remember the era that this was in. The 90s were very hostile to gun rights on a national scale. The federal Assault Weapons Ban was still in effect. Similar guns had already been banned in California by name in 1989. Owners of a particular model of SKS were told they had to surrender their property to the state because the law was so poorly written and interpreted. Australia had just gone through its own registration and confiscation scheme. The fear of registration and confiscation was rightfully high.
My father lamented that he would be considered a criminal for exercising his rights, that he would be forced to register his firearm that he knew the state didn't want him to own, believing his property would eventually be confiscated if the government knew he owned it.
Then there were people like me, the next generation, who had been told by the state, "you can't buy that, you can't own that, you can't inherit that."
Gun grabbers love telling you, "nobody's going to take your guns". Try telling that to this young adult who just realized, sure, you're not "taking" my guns; you're just making sure I'll never have the liberty to own one in the first place. And sure, you're not "taking" my inheritance; you're just requiring me to sell it to a licensed Dangerous Weapons dealer or remove it from the state.
We've gotten used to finding liberty in the law over the years but never forget the intent of these laws: to completely ban these guns. Since 1989, California politicians have believed their laws would get rid of them in one generation, but nothing motivates free people like telling them what they can't have or can't do.
This was the foundation of my "radicalism". I use the term a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I wouldn't be doing what I do now if it weren't for the laws these people pass. My father would never have bought that first AR15. These laws motivated the people who paved the way for us to legally buy off-list lower receivers, develop the magazine locking devices, getting a DOJ letter stating you can repair your old 30rd magazines up to replacing every single part of your magazine, the single shot exemption to buying off-roster handguns, the featureless revolution... every single time they pass a law restricting what we can own, they've motivated, encouraged, and "radicalized" gun owners into doing things they would never have otherwise done.
They've created an environment where the average California gun owner has gone from having a pistol in the nightstand and a shotgun in the closet to at the very least educating themselves on how to assemble a CA-compliant semiautomatic rifle at home rather than buy one at the store. Then there's those of us who have taught ourselves how to mill and build unserialized and unregistered semiautomatic rifles in our garages, and the numbers grow by the day. Go to any Harbor Freight and ask if they carry a mini mill and a 3/8" end mill, and they'll smile at you and say, "building ARs?"
Think of the amount of businesses that have been created and money that's been made on account of these laws. Think of how many guns were sold, OLLs, lower parts kits, stocks, uppers, 80% receivers, mini mills, single shot exempt pistols, magazine rebuild kits, etc, none of which would have been sold to the extend that they have but for these laws. Maybe Nancy Pelosi was right; laws and regulations really DO encourage business!
And maybe Gavin Newsom was right too, gun control really DOES create a drop in crime, but it was due to all the good people buying over 1,000,000 guns in California alone last year because of these gun control laws. More guns, less crime, right John Lott?
By trying to strip us of our rights and liberties, they've helped make us what we are. They created us and proliferated the very thing they were trying to ban. While my family's story may just be anecdotal, any gun owner in California reading this can relate and likely shares a similar story. How "radical" California gun owners get as a whole regarding our rights and liberties, though, is directly proportional to the laws they pass against us.