A bill passed by Arizona Republicans on Tuesday would force cities and counties to resell — instead of destroy — the firearms turned in to gun buyback programs, potentially allowing the weapons to end up back on the street.
In an 18-12 vote along party lines, the state Senate passed House Bill 2455, which states that local government “shall sell” any firearm turned over to any authorized business “that shall sell the firearm to the public according to federal and state law.”
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Jan Brewer (R). It was not immediately clear if she intended to sign it into law.
According to The Associated Press, the bill ignited an intense debate over whether the gun used in the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) could be used in future crimes. In fact, a law passed last year already requires guns seized in criminal investigations to be resold to federally licensed firearms dealers.
Democratic lawmakers in Arizona pointed out that the measure contradicted the usual Republican argument about having less government control in local affairs.
“We hate it when the federal government mandates it to the state, and we’re doing the same thing,” state Sen. Lynne Pancrazi (D) said.
Lawmakers on the other side of the aisle, however, insisted that the bill was about preventing taxpayer money from being wasted.
“It’s not about protecting Second Amendment rights, it’s about protecting the taxpayers,” state Sen. Rick Murphy remarked, adding that vehicles impounded after fatal accidents were not required to be destroyed either.
Democratic state Sen. David Bradley observed that Republicans were making it “safer to be a gun than a child in this state.”
“Our citizenry demands a conversation about guns, and what do we do? We make sure that guns used in crimes can be sold to generate revenue,” Bradley said. “Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant idea.”
Listen to the audio below from KJZZ, broadcast April 16, 2013.
[Photo: Arizona Republican Party]