Volume 2021, Issue 3 – August 2021
AzCDL is pleased to announce details of our 16th annual Meeting of Members. As you know, in alternating years the meeting is held in either Phoenix or Tucson, and this year we’ll be back in Tucson at a familiar venue for those that have attended before—the Tucson Marriott.
The meeting will be held on October 9, 2021 at the Marriott University Park, 880 East Second Street in Tucson. The meeting is open only to AzCDL members and their guests.
Annual meeting tickets are $30 but, if you purchase by September 11, you can get them for only $25. Last minute tickets purchased after September 27th will cost you $35 so don’t delay, get your tickets now!
The deadline for reservations is October 8, 2021.
Tickets will not be available at the door.
Ticketing is automated and online. If you are an AzCDL member and plan on attending this year’s annual meeting, please purchase your tickets and make your entrée selections by visiting:
You will need to enter your membership number in order to purchase tickets, it’s printed on your membership card. If you are unsure about your membership number, or need help buying tickets, contact Tom at email@example.com.
Not a member? Not a problem. To join AzCDL, visit:
As with all of our annual meetings, the open carrying of holstered firearms is appreciated. We are also looking for volunteers to assist during the annual meeting. If you are attending and are available to help, please contact Tom at the e-mail address above.
See you at the Annual Meeting!
How to Tell a Slanted Tale – Part One
By Charles Heller
Host of Liberty Watch Radio (AM 1030 KVOI Tucson), former Executive Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), and co-Founder of the Arizona Citizens Defense League.
Ordinarily, AzCDL sticks to Arizona issues, but from time to time there is a serious threat to liberty and our mission requires us to respond to that threat. Here, Charles takes on an institution that wants media outlets to bend reporting on the right to keep and bear arms to fit the anti-freedom agenda with a mentality of, “all the news that fits our slant.”
This article is adapted from a piece originally published by JPFO.
The Columbia Journalism Review convened on April 6, 2021, a summit of journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Trace, The Guardian and others to detail, “what we can do about reporting on [so-called] gun violence.”
CJR boiled down six essential pledge elements that comprise the, “CJR Gun Violence Coverage Commitment.” CJR hopes to convince news people across the country to sign on. As a career print and radio journalist and editorialist, I would never sign the Commitment. Why? Because the Commitment contradicts journalism’s purpose.
My journalism career started in 1973 when I was managing editor of my high school paper (circulation 7,000). I worked in the news and features departments of the Chicago Tribune for a year and a half, then studied journalism at Northern Illinois University. I later moved to Arizona where, on radio for 23 years, I have been covering news and conducting in-depth interviews with authors, attorneys, and experts in various fields.
Concerning issues involving firearms, I’ve been a state-certified instructor in Arizona’s concealed weapons permit program, and am a co-founder of Arizona’s main self-defense civil rights lobby, the Arizona Citizens Defense League.
From a firearms-literate journalist’s perspective, let’s examine the CJR Commitment’s first three pledges.
No. 1. We pledge to cover gun violence like the unfolding health crisis it is.
Gun violence in America is an epidemic, killing 100 people every day. Rather than cover it as a series of dramatic, but unrelated, news events, we will provide sustained, thorough coverage of the causes…and the solutions seriously being considered to contain it.
Let’s establish a first principle of journalism—its purpose. Journalism is supposed to provide observed facts within a framework of objective reality. The “coloring” of facts to subtly shift opinion is not journalism, it is known amongst professional journalists as “framing bias.” Such bias slants the news via a filter distorted by the view of the reporter or organization. Framing bias is unvarnished intellectual dishonesty.
When this pledge uses the term “gun violence.” it engages in framing bias. In fact, there is no such thing as a “violent gun.” Therefore, there is no such thing as “gun violence.” There certainly is criminal violence, but that is not the conclusion the CJR is pushing people to reach.
Contrast how media covers deliberate violence done with automobiles. When has any media outlet reported on “automotive violence?” How about violence committed while intoxicated? What media outlet has reported on “alcohol violence?” Certainly, we have heard of “gang violence” (an accurate term because gangs actually do it).
So-called “gun violence” is actually criminal violence. Tying “guns” to violence is a framing bias designed to make the audience dislike and distrust the ownership of guns.
CJR’s statistic, “Gun violence in America is an epidemic, killing 100 people every day,” is more framing bias. Sixty-seven percent of deaths by gun in the U.S. are actually suicides. Suicide is tragic but it is not “gun violence.” Conflating the two statistics is simply dishonest reporting, intentionally biased to instill distrust about civilian gun ownership.
CJR’s claim that violence done with guns is a “health crisis” is also deceptive. It is a violence problem. Dubbing certain kinds of violence a “health crisis,” is an intentionally dishonest framing of the issue. It is mendacity masquerading as journalism. It is prevarication for a purpose.
No. 2. We pledge to allocate the time and resources needed to cover this crisis.
Gun violence is a constant through line of American life. It can impact any of us, at any time. But newspaper resources treat it like a rarity. We will re-prioritize gun violence in our newsrooms, carving out… time, staffing, education tools, and budget to make comprehensive gun violence coverage a reality.
Translation: “We at CJR are going to let our agenda drive our reporting.” Readers, do you want agendas, or news? The two tend to be mutually exclusive.
No. 3. We pledge to acknowledge and address racist coverage.
Coverage of gun violence in most American media ignores the disproportionate impact on communities of color; it treats shooters and victims differently, depending on their race; it foregrounds the narrative provided by law enforcement. We will put an end to this practice, including more often highlighting the voices of people in the communities most affected, and standardizing the terms and definitions used in our coverage.
This pledge raises one of the main issues of criminal violence. Data shows criminal violence disproportionately affects the lower socio-economic sectors, coinciding largely with areas populated by people of color. The media conceals the fact that only 75 counties of the 3054 counties in the U.S. actually have a violence problem, which is largely due to gang and drug related violence, committed largely by people of color against people of color. When have you heard the media report that?
Journalism needs to return to fundamental fact reporting and truth telling. “News” media should:
(1) Report the facts in an unbiased way. Ditch the idea that, “if it bleeds, it leads.”
(2) Fairly report positive as well as negative uses of guns, especially the defensive uses of guns.
(3) Clearly separate opinion from fact, and clearly state the source of facts and the sponsors of organizations being sought for facts. Operations like, “The Trace,” are not journalistic in nature, but are agenda driven.
(4) Commit to reporting stories based on the content of the facts, not the colors of the people involved.
(5) Inform the public that the police are under no duty to protect the individual citizen.
Dial 911 and Die (americanthinker.com)
A responsible media must inform the public that self-defense is an individual responsibility.
(6) Stop sensationalizing violence. Sign on to the “Don’t Inspire Evil” (D.I.E.) initiative, and do not publicize the names of criminal perpetrators:
View the CJR pledge:
Stay tuned for part two of this article.
FASTER Coming to AZ
The Faculty & Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response program empowers teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately.
FASTER was created by concerned parents, law enforcement, and nationally recognized safety and medical experts, The curriculum is a groundbreaking, nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training.
The program offers a carefully structured curriculum offering over 26 hours of hands-on training over a 3-day class that exceeds the requirements of the Arizona Peace Officer Standardized Test (AZPOST).
FASTER saves lives!
Although it costs about $2,000.00 per student to conduct the classes, the program is funded entirely by your tax-deductible donations through the AzCDL Foundation. That means classes can be provided at
NO COST to local school districts! This covers the full three, 8-hour days of training as well as everything else participants need, including ammunition, hotel, TCCC medical kit, and more.
The AzCDL Foundation has arranged to pay for the first 26 students to attend the March, 2022 event. We already have 3 schools interested and will be hosting up to 3 more classes next year.
Recently, Dave Laird, Owner and Training Director of Dynamic Combative Solutions, attended the level 1 and level 2 classes and found their system right on par with the Federal Air Marshall program. Also attending were fellow AzCDL Foundation board members Cheryl Todd and Mark Zilinskas.
While there, Dave was able to speak to many school administrators, principals, teachers, school nurses, and maintenance workers from around the country that were in training and spoke very highly of the program. Most fascinating was a school principal who, despite having gone through level 2 for his second time, still contends that he is adamantly anti-gun but recognizes this is necessary to keep his kids safe at school.
Now, that’s a testament to the program’s success!
Team AZCDL Events
If you’ve seen people wearing odd-colored AZCDL T-shirts, you may have noticed the left sleeve bearing a Team AZCDL logo and a date. These shirts identify the lucky members who attend our annual ‘field trip’ to Front Sight every April (well, except for 2020, when the world was screwed up and we were delayed for six months).
If you’ve never attended, it’s an amazing trip with four days of comradeship, training, and sending rounds downrange. If you’re interested in elevating your handgun competence, meeting fellow members from around the state, and spending four days throwing lead, look for the announcement of next year’s trip and join us – you’ll be glad you did.
The other major event falls early in November, when the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation brings its circus to the Tucson Rifle range at Three Points, a few miles west of Tucson. Glock armorers are on hand, basic Range Officer training is free, and if you don’t happen to own one of Gaston’s toys, you can rent one to compete.
And speaking of competition, for the past two years, an ad-hoc team represented us, and took home one second place and one third place Civilian trophy—some of us using those same rented pistols!
Of course, there’s also our upcoming annual meeting, to be held in Tucson this year—and once again in-person. You can find full information about the event on page 1 of this newsletter.
We get asked—a lot—by potential members “What’s in it for me?”, as if being at the forefront of the ongoing war (and yes, it is a war) to maintain the right to keep and bear arms, and to continue as the flagship state for that right, wasn’t enough.
Well, here it is: As a member, you have the opportunity to train with both new and old friends at one of the nation’s foremost firearms training facilities.
s a member, you also have the opportunity to compete for bragging rights—both individually and as a team for AZCDL—without having to spend a half-dozen mortgage payments on a race gun.
And, as a member, you get the opportunity to tell people about one of the most successful civil rights organizations in history without the frustrations of working a table at a gun show.
Come on out and join the fun!