Bipartisan Second Amendment Bill Passes Out Of House Committee

Bipartisan Second Amendment Bill Passes Out Of House Committee

By Daniel Stefanski |

A bipartisan Second Amendment bill is making its way through the Arizona Legislature this session.

Earlier this week, HB 2617 cleared the Arizona House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety (MAPS). The proposal, which was sponsored by State Representative Alma Hernandez, would “lower thresholds for the juvenile restoration of firearm rights subsequent to a juvenile felony criminal conviction,” according to the overview provided by the Arizona House.

In a statement on the platform “X,” Hernandez said, “It was a super long day, but tonight, my bill, HB2617, passed out of committee! This bill will give youth the ability to destroy their juvenile record at 18 for most offenses; for other offenses, at the age of 25- it would allow youth who complete their court consequence proceedings to enter adulthood without the stigma of their past indiscretions.”

Representative Hernandez, a Democrat, added, “Currently, courts are denying the request of many 18 y/o to destroy their juvenile records because they are not eligible to have their gun rights restored at 18. This language has been confusing for years. Big thanks to 2 of my friends and juvenile public defenders who came to support and testify! It’s time to fix it. Thanks to all who supported me!”

The Arizona House Democrats Caucus “X” account also noted the achievement, writing, “Congratulations to Rep. Alma Hernandez for HB 2617 passing the Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee this evening! On to the Floor soon.”

The bill passed out of the MAPS Committee with a 13-1 vote. One member voted “Present” on the legislation.

On the State Legislature’s Request to Speak system, representatives from Stand for Children, Arizona Veterans, Pima County, and Arizona LeadingAge registered their support for the bill, while a representative from Arizona National Organization for Women registered in opposition.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Every Villain Wants The Same Thing: Control

Every Villain Wants The Same Thing: Control

By Cheryl Todd |

Our family just enjoyed a weekend in Disneyland. We love the Happiest Place on Earth and the opportunity to be lighthearted, spend time together, and play with our granddaughters. On this particular trip, I found myself thinking about the comparisons of how fairy tale storytelling compares to real life.

Does art imitate life, or does life follow art?

One thing that kept coming to my mind is that the villain in every Disney story is seeking to, in some way, control others. The Evil Queen from Snow White wants to take the lives of those who simply want to enjoy the beauty of love, freedom, and happiness. The Wicked Sorcerer wants to enslave or kill those who are simply living their lives. Some of the villains are male, some are female, and others are dragons or even snakes.

Regardless of their form, the one thing they have in common is their desire to control and take something from someone doing them no harm. I couldn’t help but reflect on how I’ve felt this way at times as a Responsibly Armed Citizen who simply wants to protect and defend what I love.

The people who want to chip away at our freedom to keep and bear arms seek what feels like a similar type of control over your life and mine. Oftentimes it comes with a “pretty face” or dressed up in some fashion that makes it challenging to disagree. They call it “smart gun laws,” or “common sense gun control,” and tell you it is “for the children.”  

In the world of Disney and fairytales, the antagonists and adversaries often cast their spells using cleverly worded phrases and rhetoric to trick well-meaning people into mindlessly nodding their heads in agreement. In the same way, those who attempt to restrict gun ownership are like modern-day pied-pipers, they siren call their way into the words that spew from the mouths of our favorite Hollywood actors and feisty young politicians. And those of us who haven’t fallen under the spell are oftentimes painted with the brush of being small-minded social outcasts who love our guns more than our children.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, over 2.5 million times each year, lives are saved by people who are responsibly armed. I own and carry firearms for the express purpose of protecting my life and the lives of those I love. In this battle of wits and wills, what are we, the keepers of the truth, to do so that we too don’t willingly tie on our own puppet strings and become one of the Rights Restrictors’ bobble-headed marionettes? How do we save our children and our children’s children from drinking the poison of distorted history and protect this generation and the next from climbing down the steep staircase to the dungeon of gun-control lies

To break the spell, simply keep asking (and answering) one little word. “Why?” Why do we have a Constitution? Why did our Founding Fathers include a Bill of Rights? Why do the 27 Words of the Second Amendment include the clause “shall not be infringed”? Why did the very first gun control laws come about? And why are the loudest voices that are trying to restrict your rights to self-protection coming from the very people who have armed security protecting them and their children 24 hours a day? Why, if guns are bad, do these people rely on guns to protect them? Just keep asking why, and you will soon see the smoke and mirrors, half-truths, emotional manipulation, and outright lies begin to vaporize as the phantoms they really are. 

You and I simply want to live the American hope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We want to build our little cottage, snip off the puppet strings, and live out the promise of a future filled with freedom. It is important to keep our eyes on the North Star of truth so that we too do not fall prey to the spells of those who want us to fall into the deep sleep of apathy and who seek to enslave us under their heavy boot of tyranny. We must know the truth and constantly plant the seeds of truth. We must every day take up our shield of wisdom and teach the next generation how to use the sword of truth because the villains are many, the villains are loud, and because every villain wants the same thing: control.

Cheryl Todd has an extensive history of being a Second Amendment Advocate. Along with being a Visiting Fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum, she is the owner of AZFirearms Auctions, Executive Producer & Co-Host of Gun Freedom Radio, the founder of the grassroots movement Polka Dots Are My Camo, and the AZ State Director for the DC Project.

Bliss Wins Award For Her 2nd Amendment Support

Bliss Wins Award For Her 2nd Amendment Support

By Daniel Stefanski |

A northern Arizona lawmaker won a major recognition from a Second Amendment organization.

On Monday, the Arizona House announced that State Representative Selina Bliss, a freshman Republican, earned the “Legislator of the Year” Award from the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL).

“I am immensely honored to be recognized by the Arizona Citizens Defense League,” said Representative Bliss. “They are a terrific organization, dedicated to legislative action in support of the Second Amendment. Like them, I believe fervently in safeguarding our citizens’ right to bear arms – a cornerstone of our Constitution. As a state legislator, it is my privilege to work alongside fellow Arizonans in safeguarding and preserving the freedoms that define our great state, and to stand against any attempts to undermine those cherished liberties.”

Representative Bliss wasted no time in coming to the legislature and working to achieve results for her constituents and Arizonans. Bliss introduced HB 2617, which would have “allowed a constable or deputy constable to carry a firearm, both on and off duty and in the same manner as other certified peace officers, if the constable or deputy constable is in compliance with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) firearms requirements and has fulfilled all other requirements as prescribed.” The first-term legislator told AZ Free News that she had introduced the bill after learning from her own Yavapai County Constable Ron Williams ““that constables and deputy constables are not part of the list in ARS 38-1113, which covers off-duty carry of firearms by peace officers.”

Even though the legislation passed out of the State House with broad bipartisan support on May 15, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed the bill four days later. In the governor’s veto letter to House Speaker Ben Toma, Hobbs said, “I am concerned that this bill would have expanded the authority of constables to carry a gun while off-duty whereby some constables may choose to view themselves as having a ‘duty to respond’ when they are off duty.”

Bliss also scored a recent Second Amendment victory over the City of Phoenix’s donation of hundreds of unclaimed firearms to Ukraine’s national police force, working with Arizona House Judiciary Chairman Quang Nguyen to force the municipality’s leaders to end their efforts and to seek sanctions against its leaders. Both Bliss and Nguyen sent a 1487 complaint to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes over the issue, who issued a subsequent report which concurred that the City’s ordinance had violated multiple state laws. The two lawmakers were then joined by Representative Travis Grantham in sending a letter to Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, calling on the prosecutor to “immediately undertake a criminal and civil investigation of City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and City Councilmembers for their intentional and flagrant violation of state law in connection with their actions surrounding the City’s Ordinance S-50010.”

According to its website, AzCDL “is a non-profit 501(c)(4), all volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to the principles contained in Article II, Section 2 of the Arizona Constitution that ‘All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.’”

The organization’s goals for Arizona are as follows:

  • Freedom to Carry – Restore and protect the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm openly or discreetly anywhere they have a right to be.
  • Fewer restrictions on the lawful carrying of firearms on public property (state and local government buildings, parks, etc.).
  • Restaurant Carry – The ability of law-abiding citizens to dine out while carrying a firearm.
  • Continued strengthening and preservation of the right of presumed innocence in self-defense situations.
  • Strong State Preemption – Firearms laws should be consistent throughout the State.
  • Liability responsibility for property owners who ban firearms.
  • Continued improvements to CCW laws.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

How To Handle Guns And Ghouls Safely On Halloween

How To Handle Guns And Ghouls Safely On Halloween

By Cheryl Todd |

Practicing gun safety is paramount every day of the year, not the least of which is Halloween. On a day when millions of people all across the nation celebrate the holiday by concealing their true identity and intentionally scaring friends and neighbors, those of us who own and carry firearms must be ever more careful and vigilant to keep us all safe.

A day that celebrates imagination and fantasy is the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to dress up as any character that their creativity and resourcefulness will allow. Many costumes include elements of guns, swords, knives, machetes, pitchforks, scythes, and other such implements. 

Trick-or-treaters are welcome to visit your home at night and approach your front door with their faces obscured, their hands gloved, and possibly carrying an item resembling a weapon. On any other day of the year, this behavior might warrant a call to 911. However, it might be more difficult to determine the delightful from the truly dangerous on All Hallow’s Eve.  

Exercising a few extra layers of preparedness, safety, and caution will help to preserve the fun while protecting your home, your family, and yourself.

The basic rules of safely handling a firearm are:

#1) Treat every firearm as though it is loaded—even if it is a toy and part of a costume.

Teaching children how to handle every gun as though it is a gun, including toy guns and nerf guns is a great way to begin implementing a safe way to interact with firearms and develop the habit of safety.

#2) Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction—even if it is a toy or replica.

Where is a safe direction? This may change depending on your location. If you live in a two-story home or in an apartment that shares walls with another person’s home you will need to be extra aware and diligent in determining a safe direction. One thing is certain, a safe direction never includes pointing a gun at another person or animal, unless that person or animal presents an immediate and imminent threat to your life.

Many of us grew up playing with water guns and squirting one another with both pistol and rifle-shaped toy guns. While this may seem to be harmless fun, on a night like Halloween pointing any toy firearm at people could result in tragic consequences. The time to teach safety is always now. And this holiday is a good time to begin thinking differently about how you model safe behavior with guns.

#3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot—not only is this a safety must, it is also the sure sign of a responsibly armed citizen.

Guns do not “just go off” by themselves. Just as knives do not carve a turkey and dishes do not load themselves into the dishwasher on their own, even on a night when ghosts abound. These are all inanimate tools. No firearm can fire until the trigger is pressed.

Keeping your finger off of the trigger will ensure that the gun will not discharge until you are ready for it to do so. Empower yourself and your children with this safety imperative, and you will not only be practicing safety and responsibility, but you will be modeling the behavior of a well-trained gun owner.

#4) Always be sure of your target and what’s beyond it and never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy—a sober assessment of any situation when you might feel that a threat is present is always imperative, and the frightful fun of Halloween might present extra opportunities to be both diligent and restrained.

No responsibly armed gun owner ever wants to have to use their firearm to harm another human being. However, the reality is that over 2,500,000 times every year, guns are used to save lives. In the hands of safe, trained, moral, and responsible citizens, guns are very effective tools of self-defense. Additionally, hunting and target practice are widely popular activities in the United States. Being aware and mindful of the threat, animal, or target you intend to fire upon is vital to good aim, but equally important is what is beyond what you are aiming at. If your aim is not true or if the projectile you fire penetrates beyond where you intended it could inadvertently harm innocent bystanders. On Halloween, when the streets are filled with children and families we must be aware of the added elements and responsibilities inherent in carrying a firearm for self-defense.

A day of fanciful costumes and dressing up can offer opportunities to both practice safety and teach new skills to keep you and your children safe. While enjoying the frights and fun, safety must be at the forefront of your thoughts. Following these universal rules of firearms safety will help keep you and your loved ones safe, on Halloween and every day.

Cheryl Todd has an extensive history of being a Second Amendment Advocate. Along with being a Visiting Fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum, she is the owner of AZFirearms Auctions, Executive Producer & Co-Host of Gun Freedom Radio, the founder of the grassroots movement Polka Dots Are My Camo, and the AZ State Director for the DC Project.

Are You Creating Or Allowing?

Are You Creating Or Allowing?

By Cheryl Todd |

The lives of our children and grandchildren will be impacted by the decisions we make today. Are your decisions creating the pathway toward individual liberties for current and future generations? Or are you simply allowing cultural whims that seem to shift with the breeze to overtake our nation?

Whether you personally own firearms or not, you should recognize the value of the right and the liberty to do so. And, you should understand your responsibility to protect these rights for all future generations. Throughout the unrest of the past several years, with mandatory lockdowns, riots, and defunding of police departments across the nation, millions of people have realized the value of personal safety and gun ownership. Many of these same people had previously been actively anti-gun and had naïvely voted away their liberties.

Life moves quickly. Culture perhaps even more so. We must be intentionally mindful of the past, present in the moment, and prepared for what the future holds. Whether we are engaged in the events shaping our world or not, time will march on. Many of those events, it seems, are focused on cultural and legal shifts in how Americans view our basic individual liberties, specifically as they pertain to our right to keep and bear arms. In these moments it’s worth asking ourselves, “Are you creating more freedom and liberty or are you simply allowing those vital elements to be stripped away?” 

Leadership expert, clinical psychologist, and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud has summed up leadership in one simple phrase, “You get what YOU create or what YOU allow.”

Too often, we point our fingers at elected officials, at “the media,” and a whole litany of “thems” and “theys” who are eroding our rights and infringing on our liberties. And, there is effort being put in by those who hate freedom and who love to live with the boot of tyranny on their necks and ours. However, the final outcome always comes down to personal responsibility.  

Our Founding Fathers and Mothers certainly embodied these principles of creating and allowing. They fought, bled, starved, and died as they CREATED this nation which ALLOWED for their children and ours to thrive wrapped in the precious and unique American Constitutional Protections. They were the counter-culturists of their time. They had every force against them, as we do today, and yet they changed the entire world.

It’s important to remember they were just ordinary people who finally said ENOUGH, we will no longer allow unjust laws to slowly smother us. They said ENOUGH, you will NOT take away our life-saving tools of self-defense that protect us from predators—those with four legs and with two. And, they looked little King George III right in his wild, manic, power-hungry eyes and said ENOUGH. We will not be slowly smothered by unjust taxes, regulations, and laws!

And, as you stand at the crossroads of history you must decide what part you will play. 

Our Founders, the famous and those forgotten by history, handed down the keys to the shiny new nation, wrote us an owner’s manual, and prayed that we would value their hard work and sacrifice and try not to wreck this beautiful new experiment in freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, we have slowly and incrementally allowed those who hate liberty to chip the paint, bald the tires, and stain the upholstery with a splash of tyranny here and a dribble of infringements there. You can see it firsthand in overreaching policies that have been proposed or implemented, including certain red-flag gun laws and universal background checks.

Let YESTERDAY be the last day you allow those Representatives to feign ignorance of the Will of the People. Let TOMORROW be the first day that you begin to teach your children and our children’s children the lessons of World History. Let TODAY be the day you become involved in the political process at local, state, and federal levels, and make the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment the focal points of how you vet all candidates in every election.

When you do this, you will create a future that honors the sacrifices made by so many that will once again allow your children and your children’s children to live in a nation rooted in liberty.

Cheryl Todd has an extensive history of being a Second Amendment Advocate. Along with being a Visiting Fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum, she is the owner of AZFirearms Auctions, Executive Producer & Co-Host of Gun Freedom Radio, the founder of the grassroots movement Polka Dots Are My Camo, and the AZ State Director for the DC Project.