Tag Archives: gun control

Profile in Courage: Rep. Randy Friese Stands Up for Gun Safety

Only one Arizona legislator had the courage to stand up against gun violence: Rep. Randy Friese, a Democrat from Tucson. Watch the 4-minute YouTube video or read the transcript below as he calls for his colleagues to act, just days after the Parkland, FL, mass murders.

Friese had introduced HB2023 to ban bump stocks, but he could not get it heard in the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee where it was assigned. He used procedural motion to bring the measure directly to the House floor for a vote. But Rep. John Allen, a Republican from Scottdale, used a second motion to stop it from being debated.

Every Republican member of the Arizona House voted against gun safety, refusing even to hear the bill against bump stocks.

The GOP legislators are intentionally out of touch with the electorate:

  • 72% of registered voters support a ban on bump stocks.
  • 88% of Americans support universal background checks.
  • 81% think that a person should be at least 21 to buy a gun.
  • 70% endorse a ban on high-capacity magazines.
  • 68% support a ban on assault weapons.

Rep. Friese’s speech on the Arizona House floor is truly a profile in courage.


We are facing an epidemic of gun violence. And this violence is everywhere, unfortunately, it’s in our schools. It’s touching the lives of children. We must act. The country is waiting for us to act. The time is now. We have an obligation to take action, we have a mandate to take action, we have the authority to take action. If we don’t recognize our authority to take action, we are failing. We are failing our country, we are failing our children, we are failing our students.

There are students in Florida today, since the last mass killings in schools, that have shown more leadership and courage than legislators across the country, than people who represent us in DC. I congratulate those young people. I ask us to be responsible to them and what they are asking us to do.

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Speaking Truth to Power in the #AZLeg (video)

Arizona House

Taking our first votes of the 53rd Legislature

This has been an action-packed week in the Arizona Legislature. We returned to work on Monday– just a few days after immigration restrictions and the Muslim travel ban and related protests unfolded at airports (including Sky Harbor).

This week I was proud of the Democrats in the Legislature. I am particularly proud of my Sisters who are also first-time Legislators: Representatives Athena Salman, Isela Blanc, Kelli Butler, Winona Benally, Mitzi Epstein, and Kirsten Engel.

Yes, we’re the minority, but we’re a fiery bunch with a lot to say. Thirteen of the 25 Dems in the House are new, and several of the newbies are unabashedly Progressive (like me) or Progressive-leaning, depending upon the issue.

Often, the people who spoke truth to power this week included some or all of the women listed above. But don’t take my word for it. Watch the videos.

Jan 30: Democrats made statements about the Muslin travel ban.

Jan 31: Democrats spoke out against snake shot and rat shot in the city. (The vote broke along party lines, see below.)

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Zona Politics LD9 Interviews: There’s a Progressive in the House (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley on Zona Politics

Pamela Powers Hannley, Progressive Democrat and Clean Elections Candidate for LD9

Primary races are good for the Democratic Party because they allow different opinions to be heard. Last night while watching the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the value of the Clinton vs Sanders primary was evident. As a progressive, I heartened to hear Senator Bernie Sanders say that the two camps came together on the platform and came to agreement regarding debt-free college, busting up the banks, making society more equitable, ending Citizens United, and other populist agenda items. (They also added the Equal Rights Amendment – ERA – to the platform, but no one mentioned it.)

Mission accomplished, Bernie. Thanks for your service to the 99%. Bernie pushed Hillary and other establishment Democrats to the left and opened their eyes to the inequities of our current economic policies which offer largesse for the 1% and austerity for the 99%. They balance tax cuts and giveaways for big corporations with budget cuts, layoffs and tax increases for the rest of us– Robin Hood in Reverse.

I am by far the most progressive candidate running in Tucson and the only Tucson Democrat running clean. I have often quip that I am the Bernie Sanders of Tucson– with Hillary Clinton’s gender issues. I am pushing the local political discussion out of the safety zone of politics as usual and toward a more progressive direction– particularly in the areas of economic reformwages, and money in politics.

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Fathers’ Day Reflections: My Dad– Working Man & Gun Owner (video)

James L. Powers, Sr.

Daddy was a cowboy at heart.

Today is Fathers’ Day. It’s been almost 20 years since my Dad, James L. Powers, Sr., passed away… far too young.

Many of you have heard my speeches about my Dad’s unwavering support for the United Steelworkers. He was a long-time member and an officer in his local in Lorain County. That is… until the last strike when Thew Shovel closed the plant in Ohio and moved to the south for cheaper, non-union labor. As a vice president, grievance man and a contract negotiator, Dad was a strong fighter for working men and women, and he argued politics and unions with everyone, particularly his father (my grandpa).

Dad, the Working Man

Dad was one of those boisterous, in-your-face union guys that you see in the movies. He was a third-generation electrician, a Navy vet, an NRA member, an avid outdoorsman, a hunter, a John Wayne aficionado, a great dancer, a quirky style icon, a ham radio nut, and a Republican, until Nixon broke his heart and he changed his registration to Democrat after Watergate. He drank to much, fought in bars, won and lost rings and watches playing craps, and carried a switchblade and sometimes brass knuckles. (Truth be told: he may have won those two prizes shooting dice. Jimmy and I were always fascinated to see his winnings in the morning.)

Thew Shovel was in South Lorain, a grungy, hard-scrabble place with economic immigrants from all over the US and the world.

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Lest We Forget: ‘Guns Do Not Make a Nation Safer’

 

Glock

Glock

[I originally wrote this blog post on Sept. 18, 2013, a few months after the Congress failed to act on post-Sandy Hook legislation. In the US, there have been many more massacres with assault weapons since then– including the mass shooting of 50 people in an Orlando nightclub, early this morning. Instead of working to make our citizens safer by enacting common sense gun laws, the Arizona Legislature passes laws promoting the proliferation of guns of all types, everywhere, even in the Legislature. Heavy sigh. How many more people have to die before our government stands up to the NRA?]

With each massacre of innocent citizens, the demand for action on gun control by the US Congress intensifies.

After the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012,  it appeared as if the national outrage over the massacre of 20 children and 6 school staff would finally push the Congress into action, but sadly, in April 2013, the most recent attempt at common sense gun control was thwarted by a Republican Party filibuster (which included both Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.)

This week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Washington DC naval facility, killing 12 people and injuring 8 others before being killed by authorities. Within hours of the shooting, Senator Diane Feinstein, who sponsored gun control legislation earlier this year, called on Congress to revive gun control efforts.

Serendipitously for gun control advocates, The American Journal of Medicine released Gun Ownership and Firearm-related Deaths by Drs. Sripal Bangalore and Franz Messerli today.

More Guns Don’t Make a Nation Safer

Read the details of the study after the jump and then forward it to your state legislators and your Congressional representatives.

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Sanders Covers Wide-Ranging Topics in Tucson #ICYMI (video)

Bernie Sanders Rally in Tucson

Tucson feels the Bern.

I wasn’t prepared for Bernie Sanders’ 90-minute lallopalooza in Tucson on October 9, 2015.

Besides logistical issues, like not having a spare camera battery and running out of juice, wearing the wrong shoes for 90 minutes of standing, days of hounding the Sanders campaign about a press pass (only to find out that the Star was having the same problem as BfAZ), and the nagging feeling that one hand of the Sanders campaign didn’t know what the other was doing, I wasn’t prepared to like the event.

I have been on the fence about the Bernie Sanders vs Hillary Clinton race for months. I have liked and followed Hillary since she became the first First Lady to be a media punching bag because she had ambitions beyond serving tea and cookies. I can relate to her because we are both from the Midwest, we came of age during the same time period, we are both strong feminists, and we both spent our lives like Ginger Rogers— dancing backwards and in heels up the career ladder toward that ever-present glass ceiling. I like Sanders’ income inequality message and his proposals, but I have two primary questions: 1) How can he accomplish eve a quarter on what he proposes without a 100% progressive Congress (not just a Democratic Party Congress) and 2) Who will finally end decades of struggle for women’s equality— another long-term male politician or the first woman President? (Still waiting for answers on these.)

Bernie in Tucson videos after the jump.

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