California gun-rights advocates, emboldened by last month's successful Colorado recall vote, announced Thursday that they plan to target vulnerable Democratic legislators for recall over their support for sweeping gun-control legislation.
"Right now, in the state of California, the Second Amendment is on the most fragile ground it's ever been on," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly at a press conference at the state capitol in Sacramento.
The recall effort is being organized by the newly formed group Free California with the support of Gun Owners of California and several Republican state legislators, including Mr. Donnelly, who's also running for the 2014 Republican gubernatorial nomination.
The drive comes two weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown signed 11 gun-control bills, including a ban on lead ammunition for hunting, and vetoed six others. Among those vetoed was a bill to ban all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, which would have included many popular hunting rifles and was considered the worst of the bills by gun-rights groups.
Free California spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns said organizers have identified a half-dozen Democratic legislators as possible recall targets, based on their voting records, the party registration in their districts, and the number of valid signatures required to force a recall election.
She said a final decision is expected in the next two weeks. The recall committee would have 60 days to gather enough valid signatures to force a special election early next year.
Ms. Kerns knows a thing or two about recalls: She served as spokeswoman for the recall campaign against Colorado state Sen. John Morse of Colorado Springs, who was defeated in the Sept. 10 special election by a margin of 51 to 49 percentage points.
Also recalled in the election was state Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. Both Colorado Democrats had voted in favor of three gun-control bills approved by the state legislature and signed by the governor in March.
After the Colorado election, said Ms. Kerns, "our phones started ringing off the hook with Californians begging us to help them hold elected officials to account in California."
"They said, 'If you could do this in Colorado, you can do this here,'' said Ms. Kerns, who also works for the Donnelly gubernatorial campaign. "Look, when you hear from a few dozen people, you can dismiss it. When you hear from a few hundred, there's where you know a movement has begun."
California Democrats said they were unconcerned by the recall threat.
"This nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to boost the Donnelly for Governor campaign," said Tenoch Flores, spokesman for the California Democratic Party, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. "California voters have supported, and will continue to support, legislators who work to pass sensible gun laws."
Among the Democrats under consideration by recallers is Assembly Speaker John Perez, who represents a heavily Democratic Los Angeles district.
"The speaker and Assembly Democrats are proud of their record on gun safety, which is supported by the overwhelming number of Californians," Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Mr. Perez, told the Associated Press.
The other Democrats are seen as less secure, including three who gained their seats in recent special elections: state Sen. Ben Hueso of San Diego; state Sen. Norma Torres of Chino; and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego.
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