Volume 2023, Issue 3 – November 2023
Awakening the Sleeping Giant
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, Admiral Yamamoto says plaintively, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
You may not think of AzCDL as a “giant,” but in many respects we are. AzCDL is the largest pro-rights organization in Arizona focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) and certainly the most effective. Over the last 18 years we have gotten 63 pro-rights bills signed into law by 3 different governors, including the Castle Doctrine, burden-of-proof improvements, the “Katrina Bill”, defensive display, Constitutional Carry, state preemption laws, secure storage in public buildings, and much more. For a full list of our accomplishments, see our web site: https://azcdl.org/accomplishments-overview/
While AzCDL has certainly not been sleeping, we are filled with a terrible resolve and, most recently, it is Arizona governor Katie Hobbs that has steeled that resolve.
After collecting $2 million for her inauguration party but spending only a couple hundred thousand on the affair, Hobbs has pledged to use the rest to “flip” control of the Arizona legislature to her party. It will only take a gain of one seat each in the state House of Representatives and the state Senate to realize her goal. Once that happens, Representative Jennifer Longdon will—as she does every year—introduce a dozen or so bills attacking your right to keep and bear arms. Only this time, the bills will pass out of the legislature and be signed by a governor eager to undo 18 years of work by AzCDL and our allies.
We are not going to let that happen. AzCDL is starting two new initiatives to move the RKBA forward and to protect the hard-won legislative victories we have already accomplished:
First, AzCDL is working with other Second Amendment and RKBA-focused organizations across the country to develop and enhance our ability to influence electoral outcomes. We have received tremendous support from these organizations and we are confident that we will be able to confound the governor’s efforts to undo our successes.
Second, at the 2023 AzCDL Annual Meeting held in Tucson last month, Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb announced a new partnership with AzCDL to cooperate on RKBA litigation in Arizona, should it become necessary. AzCDL and SAF have been working on this partnership for some time and we are proud that Alan was able to announce it to our members at the meeting.
Being able to protect our friends and allies in the legislature and having a powerful new way to block anti-rights efforts through the courts will be a one-two punch for freedom!
Admiral Yamamoto may not have made that statement about giants in real life but it has been recorded that while his staff members were celebrating, Yamamoto spent the day after Pearl Harbor “sunk in apparent depression”. The Admiral did not believe that Japan could win a protracted war with the United States and he later came to believe that the Pearl Harbor attack had been a strategic and political blunder, even though it was originally his idea.
The governor, too, is making a terrible blunder and, sooner or later, she will come to regret waking this “sleeping giant.”
2023 Annual Meeting Recap
The 18th Annual Meeting of Members took place on October 21st in Tucson and, by all accounts, was a rousing success! The conference facilities at the Tucson Marriott University Park hotel were the safest place to be that afternoon as members gathered openly carrying their favorite firearms.
This year’s speakers included:
- Alan Gottlieb, Founder and Executive Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation
- State Representative Quang Nguyen, President of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association
- State Representative Selina Bliss
- Michael Gibbs, AzCDL President
- Michael Infanzon, AzCDL Chief Lobbyist and Managing Partner at Epic Policy Group
- Clayton Wilcox, AzCDL Foundation Director
As usual, AzCDL Director Charles Heller was the master of ceremonies. The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance, an opening prayer, and Director Duke Schechter performing the POW/MIA ceremony.
President Michael Gibbs then discussed the ever-changing legislative climate in Arizona, the blatantly illegal actions of the Phoenix city council with regards to seized firearms, and pledged that AzCDL will continue the fight for freedom by every means available to us.
For the first time in our history, AzCDL presented two Legislator of the Year awards, this time to representatives Quang Nguyen and Selina Bliss for their work in killing anti-RKBA bills, promoting and passing numerous pro-rights bills, and working with Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to stop the city of Phoenix from sending seized firearms out of the country in violation of both state and federal law. Both legislators gave first-hand accounts of the activities of lawmakers in the last legislative session and plans for next year.
Keynote speaker Alan Gottlieb explained some of the legal actions the Second Amendment Foundation is involved with and the current situation in terms of RKBA litigation in the courts. He also formally announced a partnership with AzCDL to work together on firearms-related litigation in Arizona. SAF is proud of their long string of high-profile legal victories and will prove a powerful ally to AzCDL should the day come when litigation is necessary to protect our legislative gains.
Clayton Wilcox, an AzCDL Foundation board member and firearms instructor with a background in law enforcement and emergency medicine explained the FASTER Saves Lives program. FASTER is being heavily promoted by the AzCDL Foundation as a means to safeguard our schools and churches by providing firearms, emergency first aid, and scene management instruction to teachers, faculty and staff members who want to take a more active role in protecting their workplaces.
Michael Infanzon gave a detailed legislative update and teased some of our upcoming initiatives. More from Michael can be found in his Copper Dome Update on page 3.
Another award was presented at the meeting, this one also unprecedented for AzCDL. For his generous partnership and support of AzCDL’s mission and the tremendous successes he and the Second Amendment Foundation have enjoyed over a long and storied career of protecting the right to keep and bear arms, Alan Gottlieb was granted an honorary life membership in AzCDL.
Good food, good friends, great speakers and the sense of camaraderie that only comes from a roomful of happy firearms holders, the Annual Meeting had something for everyone. Thanks to our board, officers, members, and loyal volunteers for helping to make it an event to remember!
Copper Dome Update
Preparing for Legislative Action in 2024
As the weather begins to cool off, the legislative season is heating up. As the cornerstone of a free society, the legislative process offers an avenue for shaping the future of our state. We are diligently preparing a suite of legislative measures that will require your active participation and support. I want to outline our legislative plan and provide you with essential information to engage effectively through the Request to Speak (RTS) system.
Introduction to the Request to Speak (RTS) System
In preparation for the upcoming session, we urge each of you to register on the Request to Speak system if you have not already done so. RTS is an instrumental platform that allows citizens to make their voices heard on proposed legislation. By registering, you position yourself to receive timely action alerts and to contribute your perspectives on critical issues.
As a security measure, the state legislature requires that RTS accounts be created only on the terminals available at the state Capitol and the Tucson state offices. Please do not attempt to create an account from your own computer or device, it will not be active and you won’t be able to use the system to connect with legislators. We can help, though! Visit the AZCDL RTS registration page at https://azcdl.org/rts/ and follow the prompts to ensure you are poised to act when the need arises.
Proposed Legislation for the 2024 Session
Our legislative agenda for the forthcoming session is robust and focuses on several pivotal areas:
Facilities Safety: Schools and Places of Worship
In response to rising concerns about the safety of our schools and places of worship, we are developing legislation that will fortify these institutions. The proposed measures encompass:
–Firearms Safety Training Measure: This initiative is designed to teach students that firearms are NOT toys.
–Schools; Safety Training; Pilot Program: We are working on a pilot program that will serve as a model for school safety training programs statewide.
–Nonprofit Security Grant Program: Efforts are underway to expedite the release of grant funding, particularly aimed at supporting synagogues in light of the escalating antisemitic threats.
Personal Ownership Freedoms
We are advocating for the repeal of regulations on muffling devices through the HEARING PROTECTION: Prohibited Weapons; Muffling Device; Repeal bill. The current statute represents an unnecessary infringement on personal ownership freedoms and stands as an issue we are committed to addressing.
Economic Support Measures
Economic vitality is inseparable from legislative support, and to this end, we are focusing on:
Firearms; Contracts; Prohibited Practices: This bill—vetoed in a previous session—deserves renewed attention. Its passage is critical to prevent discriminatory practices against firearms-related businesses by the banking industry.
Political Subdivisions; Gun Shows; Preemption: We are working on a bill to safeguard the right to host and attend gun shows, pre-empting local municipal bans. Discussions with Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation have been promising, indicating potential litigation support should this measure face judicial scrutiny.
Local Municipality Issues
Our efforts also extend to addressing specific challenges at the local level:
Flagstaff: We have taken a stand with AZCDL member Timberline Firearms and Training against the City of Flagstaff’s denial of advertisement rights. The Goldwater Institute is currently managing the litigation aspect.
Phoenix: Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has successfully intervened to prevent the shipment of firearms abroad, emphasizing our commitment to state jurisdiction over local armaments. Thanks to the fight from Representatives Q. Nguyen and S. Bliss from LD1, these firearms didn’t become another “fast and furious” debacle.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Our involvement extends beyond the legislative chambers into community events. We are continuously present at gun shows, campaign fund-raisers, and local events to raise awareness of the watchdog role of AZCDL and what AZCDL has accomplished since its inception. Your participation is invaluable, and I encourage you to contact Duke Schechter or Tom Woodrow to volunteer at these gun shows and support our outreach efforts.
Engagement with Federal Legislation
Although AzCDL’s focus is strictly on state-level legislation, our officers and lobbyists are in active dialogue with Arizona’s Congressional Representatives to support or oppose bills that impact our constitutional rights and state sovereignty.
As we gear up for the 2024 session, AZCDL remains steadfast in its commitment to representing your interests and advocating for legislation that upholds our constitutional values. Your involvement is the bedrock of our efforts, and together, we can forge a future that resonates with our ideals of freedom, security, and prosperity.
Remember, the path to impactful legislation begins with your engagement. Register on the RTS system, stay informed, and prepare to lend your voice to the causes that matter most. Keep practicing your freedom!
-Michael Infanzon, EPIC Policy Group
AzCDL Chief Lobbyist
We Did it Again!
For the past 17 years, the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation has held a match at the Tucson Rifle Club in Tucson, and for the last five, your AzCDL has fielded a team, and for the second consecutive year, after two second place finishes and one third, Team AZCDL took home the number one spot.
Consisting of two military and one law enforcement veterans, we once again took the Amateur Guardian trophy home.
Congratulations to Joe Winney, Howard Verone, and that die-hard 1911 guy, yours truly, for besting the field of Glock devotees and casual Glocksters.
The course of fire consists of 3 stages:
-Three rounds of two shots at silhouettes at various ranges
-Three rounds of 4 silhouettes and one steel
-Four rounds at a six-plate rack, with a 10 round magazine (for standard capacity pistols)
Time is obviously important, but accuracy is king—and the scoring rings on the silhouettes are invisible from the firing line, adding just a touch more difficulty.
If you own a Glock, or if you want to fire a loaner, you have a year to hone your skills and come out for next year’s match. Shoot alone, or get together with two friends and compete in one of the team events.
You can also volunteer as a Range Officer and get a chance to win valuable prizes, including the Glock of your choice.
It’s fun, it’s a chance to participate in the truest American sport, it’s a chance to demonstrate we don’t just help make good law—we practice what those laws protect. Who knows…you may just rack up some bragging rights of your own.
First on the List
The following is a reprint of an article that AzCDL co-founder and President Emeritus Dave Kopp penned for our November, 2010 newsletter. It still resonates with us today. RIP, Dave, and thank you for everything!
“Hi! My name is Dave, and I’m a pro-freedom activist.”
Sound familiar? It should. You’ve probably said something like that many times. Why? If you’re reading this, chances are you belong to that select group of people who understand something that very few folks do these days. And that is, quite simply, that our freedom is under attack. Serious attack, from a whole host of enemies. So, we, all of us, have become activists in the fight for freedom.
But what makes someone an activist? I’m not talking about how Mr. Webster sees it. I mean how we see it, deep down in our bones. What is that quality that really makes someone an activist?
I write letters, make phone calls, and send e-mails and lobby my legislators. Lots of them. All the time. By now I’d bet most of them have a separate correspondence file all for me. I’d lay dollars to doughnuts that most of them are sick of hearing my name. But does that make me an activist?
I get involved. Really involved. I devote lots of time to various pro-freedom causes. In my case, it mostly goes to the Arizona Citizens Defense League as its President and primary lobbyist. I attend rallies. I march in protest. I sign petitions. I volunteer to help. I go to meetings. So, does that make me an activist?
Let me step aside for a moment and ask a question. How many of you folks who are out there reading this have ever had the following happen to you?
You’re involved, you’re volunteering, and you’re out there on the front lines for the cause. You’re trying your hardest to convince someone else to join AzCDL, sign that petition, attend that meeting, or march in that protest. And they say, “I’d love to, but I don’t want my name on a list.”
So, you say, “Ah. You don’t want your name on a list. I see.” And you smile, and move on to the next person. But do you really see? I mean really, they don’t want their name on a list? And just what planet have these people been living on, if their names aren’t on any list yet?
Were you born in a hospital? Guess what? Your name is on a list. Do you have a Social Security number? It’s on another list. How about a Driver’s License? Yep, you guessed it, another list. Do you vote? Another list. Got a telephone? Another list. Checking account? Another list. Credit cards? Another list.
And the list of lists you’re already on gets bigger and bigger every day. And that brings me back to my original point. What makes someone an activist? For me, it’s one simple thing. I want to be on the list!
Yep, you heard me right. I want to be on the list! Right at the top. In big, bold, 40 point type. So that whatever freedom stealing, control freak is monitoring the list can see my name without having to put on his reading glasses. Just like John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Do you think when old Johnny did that, that he didn’t know what it meant? Do you think for one second that he never realized it would put him square in the sights of the most powerful ruler in the world? And did he hesitate for even one second? Nope. Why? Because old Johnny was an activist.
I want them to know my name. I want them to know where I live, what I do, who I associate with, and why. I want them to know that this particular pain in the butt will never stop being one. I want them to know that I’m out there, watching, whenever one of their minions is getting ready to introduce some new rule or regulation that will tear another hole in the Bill of Rights. I want them to know that I’m going to be the first in line to expose their little schemes. And maybe most of all, I want them to know, deep down in their bones, that they can only push so far b e f o r e I p u s h b a c k !
I don’t want them to ever forget who I am, what I stand for, and the lengths that I will go to in order to preserve the freedoms that we were born with, and possess merely because we’re human beings.
So, what makes me an activist? Simple. The desire to stay in sights of the powerful, so that those who won’t do so can sleep well at night, knowing that the knock on the door won’t come.
“Hi! My name is Dave, and I’m a pro-freedom activist. Make sure you put that down right at the top of your list!”