Can Tucson destroy guns you give up?
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Is getting guns off our streets illegal?
The NRA says if one councilman goes through with his gun buy-back program and if police destroy the weapons, that is breaking the law.
Tucson knows first hand the tragedy that follows gun violence..
Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik is following a national trend: a gun buyback program designed to get guns off the streets and destroy them.
But the NRA says if Tucson destroys those guns it collects it'll be breaking the law.
The whole point of a gun buy back is to get guns out of circulation. The NRA says if the city collects guns those guns must go back in circulation--sold to gun dealers to go back on the market.
Kozachik says, "These guys are reacting like the voluntary surrender of a firearm for proper disposal is the analog to the desecration of some sort of holy icon."
According to the National Rifle Association boardmember Todd Rathner, Councilman Steve Kozachik's gun buy back program must not lead to TPD destroying the guns it collects; because state law requires governments to sell the guns to a properly licenced gun dealer. He cites Arizona Revised Statutes 12-945. You can read it here.
Other cities around the U-S have offered incentives like grocery gift cards for unwanted guns with the idea of destroying the guns to keep them from causing trouble in a community.
But Rathner calls the guns community assets. He says TPD sells other property it receives.
He says, "Why should firearms be treated any differently?"
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "Why shouldn't they be treated differently than a car or some other object of furniture or electronics?"
Rathner: "Because, when a gun is sold to a law abiding citizen and a law abiding citizen owns that gun it represents no threat to the community."
Rathner says law abiding citizens will be buying those guns because the law requires the city to sell guns it collects to licensed dealers required to do background checks.
Rathner says the NRA thinks buybacks don't accomplish much, but does not object as long as they don't involve public money. Kozachik's plan is fueled by donations.
Kozachik concedes a gun buyback is not a cure all--that mental illness and many other issues needs to be addressed too.
He says, "The louder the opposition gets, the more confirmed I am in my own mind that this is the time we have to have this conversation."
Rathner says the NRA will not try to stop the buyback, but will demand proof of what TPD did with the guns it collects.
Tucson's city attorney has ruled the law does allow the city to destroy guns it collects so the buyback is on for 9 Tuesday morning, at the TPD substation at 22nd and Alvernon.