Like all Americans, we mourn the loss of life in Thousand Oaks – and we are especially grateful for the first responders like Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who gave his life to protect others.

For the millions of Californians who are law-abiding citizens and gun owners, this tragedy hits hard. We mourn the loss of life, while recognizing and accepting responsibility for safely owning a gun. But we refuse to take the blame that is commonly misplaced on those of us who simply wish to protect ourselves, our families, or to shoot for sport.

California Rifle & Pistol Association members know that the vocal and well-heeled advocates of banning gun ownership will now orchestrate the narrative to portray this tragedy as another reason to drastically restrict the right to self-defense, or to ban certain guns, or ban certain gun parts, or ban standard capacity magazines, or ban gun shows, or ban gun stores, or ban gun advertising, or ban whatever else they can think of.  And politicians on the left will again suggest that the government can “do something” to solve a problem that cannot be solved with more laws, but that can be mitigated by the government and other organizations doing more to help those who are at risk of injuring themselves or others.

The line that “bad people who break laws aren’t stopped by more laws” is tired, but remains true – nonetheless, lawmakers will call for more restrictions on what those of us who have jumped through innumerable hoops to comply with the thousands of gun laws that already exist.

We do not know what was going on in the mind of the psychologically disturbed individual who took the lives of the innocent victims in Thousand Oaks last night. But we do know one thing for sure: punishing the rest of us isn’t the answer.