The institutionalization of gun owners à la Stockholm Syndrome

The institutionalization of gun owners à la Stockholm Syndrome
AP Photo/Steven Senne

We have 27 permitless carry states. In theory, every state is “shall issue.” The states that were formerly “may issue,” prior to NYSRPA v. Bruen, we had about eight. Those same eight states are being referred to as the “Bruen states” or “Bruen response states.” Need help finding them? Look to the coasts, with California being one of the biggest juggernauts of civil liberty usurpation and New York and New Jersey neck in neck, with Massachusetts yelling, “Hold my beer.” My good friend and colleague over on the left coast, Joe Drammissi, a writer, firearms instructor, and general badass, asked in his most recent piece, “Have California gun owners become institutionalized?”


I had the opportunity recently to watch the Shawshank Redemption. Some of you may remember the film starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. Freeman plays long-time prisoner Ellis “Red” Redding who befriends fellow inmate Andy Dufresne played by Robbins.

There is a scene where Redding and Dufresne are discussing one of their comrades, Brooks Hatlen played by James Whitmore. Hatlen had spent five decades in prison and upon his release he found the outside world so overwhelming he committed suicide. Freeman’s character describes Hatlen as having become “institutionalized” meaning he’d spent so much time in prison that the prison routine was preferable to the uncertainties of living in freedom. So much so that the pressures of freedom drove him to suicide.

My friend, San Diego gun-rights attorney John Dillon, has used this term to describe California gun owners. Have California gun owners become so used to having our Second Amendment rights aggressively infringed or completely ignored that we find it easier to accept the oppression than to seriously resist the latest gun-control laws? Has living with our rights oppressed become more convenient than fighting for the rights enjoyed by most Americans? Have California gun owners become institutionalized?

Drammissi asks a very poignant question. And while many people would agree that Californians are a special breed to begin with, the Golden State is not special in citizens falling subject to such apathy. There are a whole set of comrades you have out there Drammissi, who also are dealing with similar situations.


California is coming to the party a little late. They failed to launch their so-called “Bruen response” legislative assaults, but will be during this new session. Drammissi talks out the renewed assault to California’s Second Amendment supporters:

Last year the US Supreme Court ruled the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to carry loaded firearms in public for self-defense. The state of California reacted with SB2 (formerly SB918) which essentially states that California will issue licenses to carry concealed where legally allowed, but that most public areas will be declared “sensitive areas” and will therefore be prohibited places to carry. Most gun owners are unaware of SB2 as are many students in my state mandated CCW classes. Should SB2 become law, concealed carry will effectively end in California. Have we become institutionalized?

Should it become law, SB2 will be immediately challenged in court and will eventually be ruled unconstitutional. The problem is that for the years it takes for SB2 to be overturned, it will be in place in California causing needless death and injury to many citizens at the hands of violent individuals, those citizens having been stripped of the means to defend themselves.

That’s where there’s a problem. Like New York, New Jersey, and other pinko strongholds, California already has strict regulations stomping the Second Amendment into the ground. Drammissi said that there’s already “limits on standard capacity magazines, red flag laws, background checks to purchase ammunition, and safe storage ordinances to exorbitant taxes on firearms and ammunition purchases and much more.” What further blood from the stone of liberty can these tyrants expect to extract? 


Will a level of apathy pile up with the downtrodden and politically brutalized freedom lovers? Absolutely. But there’s hope for us Stockholm Syndrome affected persons.

Coming from La Republica de Nueva Jersey, I can attest that Second Amendment supporters can and will come out in droves if the word is spread. I remember looking at the list of testimony slips during one of the many hearings on New Jersey’s “carry killer” bill, and the pile of those against the measure was close to 20 times larger. How the NJ ruling class passed and enacted the bill into law, knowing about the level of non-support from citizens baffles me. But they gave us a gift…

Massachusetts has recently had their carry killer bill temporarily stalled, HD.4420 – The Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act. Citizen outrage and people petitioning the lawmakers in record numbers did halt the progress of a bill that’ll completely destroy the entire Second Amendment in the Bay State. Granted, the king cobra of snakes over there, Representative Michael Day, will still be pumping something out to save face, and still stick it to the gun owners, but it was stalled.

Dramissi has the answers to the symptom of the alleged lackluster show of enthusiasm from the California gun owners. He did point out that litigation efforts would be launched the second any freedom limiting bill is signed into law, however, he does note that such efforts are a slog. The path forward includes getting the base involved.


In California, gun owners need to get involved. We need to support the various 2A organizations such as San Diego County Gun Owners, Gun Owners of California, Firearms Policy Coalition, and the NRA. Find an organization you agree with and support them with your time and or your money. Educate yourself and spread the word to gun owners as well as to those who don’t own guns. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation regarding guns and gun owners have a responsibility to correct that misinformation whenever they can.

Finally, none of this can be successful without the right people elected to office. California politics is currently dominated by the wrong people. These people consistently enact laws that harm Californians and the only way to change that is to vote them out of office and vote good people in.

Joe, I feel for you my brother-in-arms and friend. I do, completely. With a small spark, hopefully your base will get as put together as the patriots from New Jersey and Massachusetts have. Over here, the hubris ruling class thought they were going to work around our civil liberties. And they have for the time being with new laws and proposed bills. But they also have awakened a sleeping beast and the gun owners in these states have come together like never before. There are even contingents of civil activist classes that are getting formulated in New Jersey, to teach people how to get involved, and people are interested. Keep the faith and keep up the good work on the left coast! 


I invite everyone to check out Dramissi’s entire article on the topic, because he raises a lot of points that are relevant to those of us in the fight. See you in September brother!

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