San Diego County Gun Owners Hosted One of a Kind Gun Show – Bearing Arms

San Diego County Gun Owners Hosted One of a Kind Gun Show – Bearing Arms

Our friends over on the left coast have an uphill battle on anything “guns” in the Golden State. The regulations governing gun shows in California are rigorous and there have even been laws that resulted in litigation concerning the outlawing of such public assemblies in certain instances. Obstacles be damned, several of our friends came together with the San Diego County Gun Owners, PAC and they held a first of its kind gun show in San Diego.

 “The new gun taxes and gun regulations only make self-defense harder for the sane, trained, law-abiding people who choose gun ownership. California’s gun laws are also used disproportionately to convict and jail people of color which destroys communities” said Michael Schwartz, Gun Owners Radio host and founder of San Diego County Gun Owners, in a statement leading up to the gun show. “Our symposium and gun show provides a friendly environment where learning about safe and responsible gun ownership is encouraged and gives people a fighting chance when navigating these extremist California gun laws.”

The gun show and symposium was held on March 2nd and 3rd at the Legacy Hotel Resort & Spa, 875 Hotel Circle South in San Diego. The United States Concealed Carry Association was the lead sponsor of the event and from all accounts it was a success.

The Gun Owners Symposium feature[ed] 2 full days of speakers talking about the truth around gun ownership, the Second Amendment, and self defense. Carl DeMaio [was] a special guest speaker on Saturday, March 2, 2024. The former San Diego City council member and current candidate for San Diego’s 75th district [talked] about new strategies to defend the 2nd Amendment in California.

In-person classes [were] also available, as well as discounted training, a virtual firearms simulator, and a blood drive with the San Diego Blood Bank. Classes include[d] curriculum on medical training, firearm skills, and speciality topics on real estate agent safety and church security.

Saturday evening at 6:30pm, [SDCGO celebrated] the 40th anniversary of classic movie Red Dawn with a showing at The Legacy Center.

Kid-friendly activities also include[d] Kids Firearm Safety classes and a BB Gun Range from the Kids Safe Foundation. The Kids Safe Foundation is a national leader in children’s’ firearm safety.

Having the show paired with the symposium was a brilliant idea. There’s so much more to so-called “gun culture” than just the hardware, as any advocate, activist, or fanatic will tell you. Pairing the show with educational opportunities opened up the doors to understanding and helped educate those who may have never known where to find the answers to the questions they had about firearms…in particular firearms in California.

I had an opportunity to chat with Derek LeBlanc, the founder and President of Kids SAFE Foundation. LeBlanc packed up his mobile bb gun range and operation, and traveled from Oregon “in a van for 16 hours one way…about 1000 miles” to participate in the gun show and symposium.

LeBlanc estimated that a couple hundred kids did cycle through to participate in learning marksmanship at the range. One of the things he stressed during our conversation and also in the radio interview he did with Schwartz on Gun Owners Radio while in studio, is the lack of conversations about guns with children in states like California. 

“I think one of the most glaring aspects of this was the fact that the parents down there don’t talk about gun safety with their kids because of restrictive laws, right? And so, it seems to me it was probably 40% of the parents talk to their kids about gun safety. And those were typically parents that were coming from rural parts of the state. So, outside of the city limits.

“Restrictive laws make it harder for parents to educate their kids on the importance of gun safety. And the reason I say it that way is let’s say we had a Shield…Or, I’m just using that as an example…There was a gun that was legal two or three years ago, but now because of a pen stroke, it’s illegal today. The parents don’t talk about that with their kids because they’re afraid of their kids going to school or going to a friend’s house and telling their friends about this gun, which potentially could get the parents in trouble.”

The event was a big milestone for the Kids SAFE Foundation. LeBlanc said after his organization worked with the kids over that weekend, the total number of children educated by them is now over 29,000. That’s a giant milestone worth celebrating. LeBlanc expressed his gratitude to Wilde Built Tactical, the primary sponsor who financially supported bringing the Kids SAFE Foundation to California and the event.

The speaker’s schedule included:

  • Frontline battles: Latest updates on California’s key Second Amendment cases – John Dillon, Dillon Law Group APC

  • How art influences your Second Amendment rights – Gabe Eltaeb, BIG MAN COMICS

  • Defending your defense: Lessons learned from recent San Diego CCW cases – Gary Gibson, USCCA Featured Presentation

  • Pro-training tips for concealed carry – Bill Desy CCWUSA

  • Overcoming stigma and misconceptions – how the Jewish Community is embracing armed self-defense – Alex Dovgalevsky, SDCGO Board Member

  • After you protect yourself – Patrick Garcia, Firearms Legal Protection

  • Why we need new strategies to defend 2A in California – Carl DeMaio, Reform California

  • How to responsibly raise kids with guns in the house – Matthias Quellenberg, San Diego Firearms School

  • Teaching the next generation to defend the 2A – Derek LeBlanc, Kids Safe Foundation

  • Defending your defense: Lessons learned from recent San Diego CCW cases – Gary Gibson, USCCA Featured Presentation

  • Intro long range precision shooting – Jason Crotteau, Wyoming Tactical

  • Flow state dynamics – Mike Dasargo, Stronghold Dynamic

Good friend, radio host and founder of San Diego County Gun Owners, Michael Schwartz and I chatted about the event as well. He seemed pleased with the advocacy work that they were able to get done during the show. 

“The USCCA-sponsored gun show and symposium by Gun Owners Radio in San Diego on March 2nd and 3rd was such a great event for the gun owner community,” Schwartz told me. “The laws in California make it near impossible to have a mountain of guns for sale, so the event was supplemented by free seminars, classes, and ‘Red Dawn’ movie night.”

Like most events and organizations, none of the work could get done without the help from rank and file members of the group.

“The San Diego County Gun Owners volunteers were eager to make the experience great for everyone and, despite the unusual rain, they did just that,” Schwartz said with pride. “The key to winning is to build culture and organize. We did that at our gun show and we will continue to do it every way we can.”

Real grassroots boots-on-the-ground groups like the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC are doing yeoman’s work. Due to the efforts of such organizations, the message of liberty and how gun ownership is a true civil right is able to reach the public at large. It’s not yet known if SDCGO will be hosting another gun show anytime soon, but if they do, we’ll surely be talking about it!

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