Volume 2022, Issue 4 – November 2022
A Bright Future Ahead
A few months ago, AzCDL suffered a tremendous loss in the passing of our President Emeritus and one of the original founders of the organization, David Kopp. After a battle that lasted more than a decade, Dave eventually succumbed to cancer. If it comes as a surprise to you that he was even ill, you are not alone—Dave was not one to burden others with his personal struggles.
To longtime members of AzCDL, Dave was more than just our president, he was a visionary, a mentor and, of course, a friend. Well respected by members of the legislature on both sides of the aisle, Dave did not mince words and was sometimes downright gruff. But he was also a diplomat for the right to keep and bear arms and knew how to play the game of politics expertly.
At the legislature, Dave worked closely with others, particularly AzCDL cofounder John Wentling. Their accomplishments speak for themselves—the Castle Doctrine and burden of proof legislation, the “Katrina bill”, defensive display, secure storage requirements in public buildings, and perhaps most significant of all, Constitutional Carry. In all, Dave and AzCDL have had 62 pro-freedom bills enacted into law under three different governors while stopping literally hundreds of anti-freedom bills from seeing the light of day.
Seventeen years later, AzCDL has grown from the original 4 founders to over 21,000 members and is widely regarded as the gun lobby in Arizona. Guns & Ammo magazine recognized Arizona as having the best gun laws in the country eight years in a row.
Dave knew his time was short and he spent much of what remained making sure that the legacy he and his fellow founders established would live on. He hand-picked the team that would take over for him then mentored and coached us. He did his best to impart a vision for AzCDL’s future that would continue the organization’s legacy.
Dave’s passion for freedom lives on in AzCDL’s board of directors and officers. President Michael Gibbs was previously Vice President for 4 years, and is a registered lobbyist for the organization, having trained with Dave for 3 years at the state capitol. Vice President Cheryl Todd is the state director of the DC Project, a former gun store owner, and host of Gun Freedom Radio. Secretary, treasurer and longtime director Tom Woodrow, the guy that literally keeps the organization running, was personally trained by the man that literally defined the job, retired AzCDL director Fred Dahnke. Duke Schechter continues as a director and our membership recruiter extraordinaire. Charles Heller, one of the original founders, remains our Media Coordinator, and we have enlisted the expertise of David Laird as our social media guru.
Michael Infanzon of EPIC Policy Group will be taking the reins as our full-time, professional lobbyist at the capitol. Mike worked with Dave Kopp for many years and knows the job well. Like Dave, he is well known within the legislature and will get things done for AzCDL.
In short, AzCDL is in good hands and will continue to do the good work that you have entrusted to us. But you, our members, must also play a part in our continued success. Our influence at the legislature comes from our numbers and that’s where you can help. Talk to your friends and ask them to join AzCDL. Volunteer at a gun show or other event and help spread the word. And make sure that you engage with your senator and representatives when we send out our legislative calls to action. With your help, AzCDL’s future continues to look bright.
Lifetime Achievement Awarded to Dave Kopp
We have all heard the cautionary advice that we should never meet the people whom we admire. We are told that these heroes can only disappoint us and they will be too human to live up to the pedestal on which we place them. Dave Kopp was absolutely the exception to that rule. Few people have made such a positive impact on my life and my work as did Dave Kopp, and I know thousands of people share my experience. I visited Dave a few days before he passed away and, without knowing that it would be the last time we spoke, I came away with a profound sense of having been blessed with a mentor, a cheerleader and a friend.
Dave Kopp passed away after a long battle with cancer, and I am convinced it was the only fight he ever did not come out as the victor. Dave was smart, well-read, well-connected, and made a powerful impact in every matter to which he put his mind. His intellect was matched only by his humility. Dave was the epitome of speaking softly, but being very able to wield the big stick of wisdom, knowledge, drive and purpose.
Dave was both a co-founder and President of the AzCDL. He had deeply held values of Individual Liberties that guided and informed his leadership style. Even when he had every right to invoke his title, his power, his experience or his personal wishes over others he chose the open-handedness and open-mindedness of someone confident and comfortable with his place in the world. The work to which Dave Kopp dedicated his life, alongside the Board of Directors and members of AzCDL, has made the State of Arizona more freedom-oriented and respectful of individual rights for generations to come. We all owe Dave a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment and work.
Knowing all of these things about Dave, it therefore was not surprising that he was posthumously awarded the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) at the 37th Annual Second Amendment Foundation’s Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC). What was a tremendous and unexpected honor was that I was invited to accept this important award on behalf of the AzCDL, my fellow Members of the Board and Dave’s family.
Dave had been an invited Speaker every year at the GRPC and had been awarded multiple times, including being named the Grassroots Activist of the Year. If he had not been ill this year, he would have once again been updating the attendees about the state of grassroots activism in Arizona, and encouraging leaders in other states to persevere in the goals of defeating bad legislation and supporting pro-freedom legislation. As a matter of fact, the first words I ever heard Dave speak were from the podium at a GRPC when he challenged the audience, “If you are a gun owner in the State of Arizona and you are not a member of the AzCDL…why not?!” I remember it so clearly because at the time his challenge landed firmly on my own conscience. I very quickly became a Life Member as well as an outspoken advocate for the work of the AzCDL.
I am but one of many thousands of people who share in having been blessed in some way by knowing Dave Kopp, working with Dave, or simply living in the state of Arizona where Dave’s work kept freedom alive. Please join me in celebrating a life well lived and well-remembered for all the reasons why Dave Kopp’s work has been recognized and honored with the 2022 CCRKBA Lifetime Achievement Award.
AzCDL Vice President
AzCDL Foundation President
Grassroots Activist of the Year Awarded to Cheryl Todd
Cheryl Todd, President of the AzCDL Foundation and Vice President of the AzCDL, was awarded 2022 Grassroots Activist of the Year by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) at the national Gun Rights Policy Conference in Texas in recognition of Cheryl’s dedication to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the preservation of the individual right to keep and bear arms. Cheryl brings a unique perspective to the state and national conversation about our gun rights and often reminds people that the guns rights are the great uniter because we all want to protect what we love.
In addition to serving on the Boards of AzCDL and the AzCDL Foundation, Cheryl is also the coordinator for FASTER Saves Lives – Arizona, the Arizona State Director for the DC Project, Director for the Second Amendment Institute, serves on the Legislative Council for the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association and is a member of Congressman Andy Biggs’ Second Amendment Coalition. Cheryl also travels the country speaking as a champion for our Second Amendment Rights and is a driving force in preserving the legacy of freedom for generations to come. Please join the Arizona Citizens Defense League in congratulating Cheryl for being recognized for her efforts in protecting our gun rights.
AzCDL Foundation Secretary/Treasurer
Copper Dome Update
What a difference a day makes!
Yesterday, we were looking at what type of bills could we get through a slim majority legislature and onto the desk of an untested, but verbally supportive of pro-freedom bills, Governor Lake. Today, we may well be looking at some of the same bills but preparing for a more defensive strategy in case an anti-firearm bill happens to make it to the desk of a Governor Hobbs.
Trickle down freedoms?
We know, based upon Katie Hobbs’ tenure in the state legislature, that she is not the most firearm friendly person around. In fact, then-Senator Hobbs voted against almost every single one of our bills when she was a legislator, if not all of them.
With all of these things in mind, rest assured that the AzCDL has a bevy of strategies at the ready to get bills passed that protect and advance our Constitutionally protected freedoms.
As I shared with you at the AzCDL Annual Meeting in October, we will be advocating for these pieces of legislation:
- Firearms safety training for school aged kids
- College/University Campus carry
- Firearms industry banking protections
- Misconduct involving weapons; public buildings
- Sales tax elimination for weapons and ammunition
Of course, we will be defending the rights and freedoms we currently have. This will be a critical time in Arizona. It won’t be easy to get legislation passed and signed by this legislature and governor, but the Arizona Citizens Defense League is strong.
WE ARE THE FIREARM RIGHTS PROTECTION IN ARIZONA!
We do have some strong allies in the state legislature, and we plan on using these alliances to keep the wolves at bay. In the meantime, we will be asking for your help.
The legislature’s Request to Speak system is a highly effective way for citizens to engage with their senator and representatives, whether in-person or from the comfort of home. AzCDL assists with the creation of new RTS accounts and re-activation of accounts that have gone dormant (which must be done at the state Capitol or via remote kiosks in Tucson). It’s always helpful to find volunteers willing to spend a little time in one of these locations to assist their fellow members in making their voices heard with our legislators.
We are always in need of help to staff booths and tables at gun shows and other events around the state.
If you can assist in either capacity, please contact Duke Schechter <email@example.com>.
While some will be extolling a doom and gloom scenario to come, please stay positive. It may not be an easy upcoming four years, we can do this. Share this newsletter with EVERYONE you know who owns a firearm.
Let me leave you with three action items:
- Know your rights! Be educated on the Constitution and Arizona Revised Statutes pertaining to your freedoms.
- Join in the fight for freedom! Join AZCDL, volunteer at events and help recruit new members.
- Stay up on your training! Go to the range, take a class, become a better shot.
“How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual… as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.”
—Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp (she lost both parents in the 1991 Luby’s cafeteria massacre)
EPIC Policy Group
Upcoming Gun Shows
Crossroads of the West, December 2-4, 2022
Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix
Casa Grande Gun Show, December 10-11, 2022
Pinal County Fairgrounds, Casa Grande
Bullhead City Kiwanis Firearms Expo, December 17-18, 2022
Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce, Bullhead City
Tucson Expo Gun Show, December 17-18, 2022
Tucson Expo, Tucson
Lake Havasu Collectibles & Firearms, December 31, 2022-January 1st, 2023
Aquatic Center, Lake Havasu
Glendale Gun Show, January 7-8, 2023
Martin Auto Museum Event Center, Glendale
Murphy’s Yuma Gun Show, January 7-8, 2023
Yuma County Fairgrounds, Yuma
Pioneer Country Events Gun, Knife Coins & Collectibles, January 14-15, 2023
College Park Community Center, Kingman
Crossroads Mesa Gun Show, January 14-15, 2023
Mesa Convention Center, Mesa
Did you miss the AzCDL Annual Meeting? You can still enjoy the excitement!
Did you miss the AzCDL Annual Meeting last month? We have a solution! Social Media Coordinator David Laird captured video of the entire meeting and included in-depth interviews with many of the guest speakers.
The entire event is now available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VGWl5R0JlE
The Big One is Coming!
SAR West/Crossroads at the State Fairgrounds
The Small Arms Review (SAR West)/Crossroads of the West gun show will take place December 2-4 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix and we need your help to staff the AzCDL tables at the show. If you have worked an AzCDL table in the past, we can use your help again. If not, don’t worry, we’ll train you and get you into the show free.
If you are interested in volunteering, we will be having a training session at an area restaurant. E-mail Duke Schechter <firstname.lastname@example.org> for meeting details and to volunteer.\
Volunteers are the lifeblood of AZCDL. Without volunteers, the rights of Arizona citizens are at risk. If you cannot help out at the show, go here and make a donation to AZCDL.org. Everything helps.
It’s volunteers like you that keep us growing and keep Arizona free, armed and trained!
Join or renew your AzCDL membership at the gun show and receive a $10 discount. It’s almost like being paid to attend the gun show!
Let George Do It, Right?
If you love that AzCDL is busy protecting your rights 24/7, it’s time to volunteer and be a part of our mission
Most of us remember when and where we joined AzCDL: we went to a gun show, we saw that big blue and white banner, we walked over to satisfy our curiosity. What’s this “Protecting Your Freedom” thing all about? There sat an older guy, a stack of newsletters–much like this one–some other literature and a pile of sharp looking Arizona flag-themed stickers.
Maybe you spoke to that guy, asked enough questions to determine the organization was not only ‘on the level’, it was probably the best chance of maintaining your right to keep and bear arms at the state level, and hold up a flashing red light to infringements at the national level.
Maybe you still come by the table to pick up a new T-shirt, or a bumper sticker, or just to shoot the bull with whomever is manning the table.
But wait–this time there is no AzCDL table at the show. The familiar faces you’ve seen for years weren’t at the last show.
It turns out that, for the most part, the same people have been manning the same tables for almost two decades, and they’re tired and burned out. In some cases they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s time for a changing of the guard, so to speak.
Do you think AzCDL has done a good job over the past 17 legislative sessions? Do you think, in a State with over a million gun owners, we should be content with a membership of barely two percent of that total?
If you’re a member who believes in what we’ve been doing–damned successfully–for the past seventeen years, if you have a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday and think ‘George,’ who’s been carrying our tables for what seems a lifetime, could use a break, then VOLUNTEER!
Step up! Whatever your age, gender, ethnicity or the size of your gun safe, we need your help. Think about how much others like you would like to talk to someone just like you. There are people who want to take your rights away, no matter what you look like.
If you like talking to like-minded people, if you like gun shows, if you think your right to keep and bear arms is worth defending, contact Duke at AmericanIcon@cox.net – and we’ll train you for free!