Document:California Press Release 2 August 1999 Libertarians Endorse Assault Weapons Referendum Campaign

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: August 2, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Libertarians endorse assault weapons referendum campaign

SACRAMENTO -- The Libertarian Party of California has voted to endorse a referendum campaign to repeal the "assault weapons" legislation recently signed into law by Governor Gray Davis, the party announced today.

The campaign, known as "Veto the Governor," is being spearheaded by San Francisco radio talk show host Geoff Metcalf of Hot Talk KSFO 560-AM. If successful, the referendum would repeal SB 23 by Senator Don Perata (D-Alameda), which Davis signed on July 19. Among other provisions, that bill enhances California's existing "assault weapons" laws by outlawing certain types of firearms based on their physical characteristics, such as those with "a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously" and "a thumbhole stock."

"The Libertarian Party of California is proud to support Geoff Metcalf's effort to remove this bad law from the books," declared Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "This campaign may be unpopular with some, but it is the right thing to do, and Libertarians will work hard to make sure this question gets on the ballot."

According to Hinkle, endorsing Metcalf's referendum was a "slam-dunk" for Libertarians. "The Libertarian Party is the only party that believes in individual freedom of choice on all issues at all times. We will defend the Second Amendment as staunchly as the First, Fourth, or Tenth. We'd be compromising our principles if we didn't participate when an opportunity like this comes along."

The "Veto the Governor" campaign is a natural for Libertarians to make an impact. "We are a grassroots organization consisting of intelligent, hard-working, principled individuals who want to make a difference," Hinkle pointed out. "Mr. Metcalf has stated that he wants to wage a grassroots campaign, and Libertarians are experts at that."

To qualify for the March 7, 2000, primary ballot, the referendum campaign must submit 419,260 signatures from valid registered voters by October 19. According to the Secretary of State, 39 referenda have qualified for the ballot since 1912, 25 of which were successful.

"We know it's a long shot, but it's one we have to take," Hinkle noted. "If we do nothing, we will have already lost. Our goal is to send a message to Sacramento: stop telling us how to live our lives and start letting us make decisions for ourselves."