To gun rights advocates, the debate since the Connecticut school shooting is more than just a battle over who gets to own what kind of weapons.
It's a fight over freedom, misinformation and society's right to protect itself.
"Once you start regulating and banning weapons, you start going down a slippery slope," said Marc Greendorfer, a San Ramon Valley attorney and gun owner.
Patch talked to an array of gun rights advocates in the last week. Here's what they think about recent gun control proposals.
They oppose California's current assault weapons ban and are against any kind of national prohibition on such weapons.
They aren't opposed to background checks, but they also aren't comfortable with a national database of gun owners. They don't necessarily oppose a 10-day waiting period if it's only for the initial purchase of guns and not subsequent purchases.
On the Martinez Patch Facebook page, one commenter stated: "I do believe we need new gun laws but mostly about how guns are stored. We need to keep them away from people that are on crazy, dangerous drugs."
Another stated: "While we outraged screechers pick up our pitchforks, light our torches and wail for "action now!" we might want to step back and think about what sort of unintended consequences we set in motion for those who will follow us.
"It's easy to demand that fewer liberties be granted to us. It's even easier to demand the end to liberties of other people. It's satisfying to be part of a movement, especially when it might involve the thrill of vanquishing the faceless, despised opposition we have been coached so well to loathe. Those in DC are always happy to oblige. There's nothing magical about America that keeps us free. Freedom is messy and unsafe. Never underestimate the delusional self-importance of politicians once they arrive in the magical kingdom of Washington."
Gun rights supporters reject the notion the Second Amendment of the Constitution is outdated, saying the nation still needs an armed citizenry.
"The AR-15 is the modern day equivalent of the musket," said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation.
Guns and ammunition are serious business in California. Combs said there are close to 20,000 gun sale transactions on an average day in California. Since the gun control debate reignited after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Combs said gun sales in California have tripled.
The spike is driven, gun advocates say, by people's fear that certain weapons will soon be banned. "Whenever a serious conversation about gun control starts, the market will respond," said Combs.
The talk is quite serious among the nation's politicians.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce a bill this month prohibiting the sale and manufacture of military-style assault weapons. House members, including Rep. Eric Swalwell of Dublin, plan to sponsor a bill that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.
State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley introduced legislation last week that would regulate the sale of ammunition in California.
Gun rights advocates view these proposals as dangerous infringements. They feel there are other ways to reduce gun violence.
On a basic level, gun advocates object to restrictions because they believe they violate the Second Amendment's guarantee for citizens to "bear arms."
"I don't understand why we can have restrictions on weapons when we have the constitutional right to own weapons," said Greendorfer.
He added he is not against restrictions on certain individuals such as convicted felons, but he feels the Second Amendment prohibits the ban of an entire classification of weapon.
Greendorfer, a hunter and gun collector, said there are personal reasons for his views. He is a first generation American whose unarmed ancestors were dragged out of their homes in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by armed Nazi soldiers.
Michael Baryla, the owner of Tracy Rifle and Pistol, said citizens owning an array of weapons is the best way for society to reduce gun violence.
"It's having your destiny in your own hands," said Baryla. "Having rifles in the hands of citizens is a protection for the public. There is no correlation between tougher gun laws and a reduction in crime."
Advocates also reject claims that individuals do not need guns that fire rapidly and fire more than six shots. First, they say the word assault weapons is a "catch all" phrase used to categorize rifles that aren't really much more powerful than standard hunting rifles.
Second, they believe there are times when you need the ability for rapid and multiple fire. Combs said if a gun owner is faced with an angry intruder or a powerful animal such as a mountain lion, they want to be able to get off more than one round.
Combs acknowledges weapons such as machine guns and bazookas are rightfully restricted.
Waiting periods, background checks
Gun advocates don't object in general to background checks of gun buyers to make sure they aren't ex-felons or have documented mental health issues. They also don't mind a waiting period of three or 10 days for someone who is buying their first weapon.
What does bother them is waiting periods for people who are making subsequent purchases of guns or ammunition.
Baryla said waiting periods for someone who has already passed initial checks don't curb violence. "It's just a restriction on commerce," he said.
Baryla does oppose a national database of gun owners. He feels it's an invasion of privacy. He notes data can be misused as in the case of a website that has printed the names of licensed gun owners in New York City.
Greendorfer is less adamant. He thinks waiting periods are "pointless," but he doesn't have major objections to them. He also is in favor of a national database of gun owners and believes the federal level is the best place to oversee it.
Gun advocates feel there is a lot of misinformation about weapons and a lot of emotional rhetoric.
"The people are the militia. There is still a need to keep the government in check," said Baryla. "Guns are the first thing to go when a government wants to control people."