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November 12, 2001


By JACK MORAN-DN Staff Writer

Don Bird knows Halloween was celebrated last month.

Still, you might see Bird, a Rancho Tehama resident who never leaves home without a sign reading "Gun registration: Just say no," displayed on the back window of his station wagon, standing outside Raley's supermarket dressed as Samuel Adams.

"Samuel Adams was the original rebel," said Bird, 67. "He was a rebel that won fame as the man who instigated the Revolutionary War."

Bird's own rebellion is against state officials who have passed gun control laws that are, in his opinion, a clear infringement of every American's right "to keep and bear arms."

Earlier this year, Bird single-handedly but unsuccessfully sued Gov. Gray Davis and various California legislators, claiming they infringed upon his Second Amendment rights with the passage of gun control laws.

The dismissal of his case by a federal court judge didn't keep down Bird for long.

"They might have beat me in court, but they're not going to keep beating me down the road," said Bird.

The Tehama County man has joined forces with Brad Puckett, the co-founder of the group Citizens of America, in circulating a nationwide petition that he says will be sent to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft in January.

The petition states: "Recognizing that infringement of Constitutional rights in California affects liberty for the Nation as a whole, we the undersigned Americans support the Petition for Enforcement of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

By himself Bird collected nearly 300 signatures during the five hours he spent at Raley's one day this week.

"The more signatures we get around the country, the more impact the petition will have," he said. "We need to build some enthusiasm before this is sent to the attorney general. We need to convince him that we have a right to keep and bear arms in California and in the entire United States of America."

Bird, a retired contractor, said attorneys for the National Rifle Association in Sacramento are reviewing the petition. He's hoping the powerful organization will sign on in support.

"We're all after the same thing," said Bird. "We all want to make sure every American retains this very important right."

Bird said he plans to be at Raley's "occasionally" for the next two months. He said he will definitely be trying to get some signatures on Dec. 15 - Bill of Rights Day.

For the record, a panel of federal appeals court judges representing a three-state district in the South ruled in October that individuals have a right to own firearms and that the Constitution permits only ŒŒnarrowly tailored'' restrictions on such ownership. Some have hailed the ruling as an indicator of a tide shifting against those who seek to prohibit firearms ownership.