by Jim Nintzel
Bethany Barnes of Arizona-Sonora News Service brings us the latest on the effort to ban gun buybacks in Arizona:
A bill that would put a stop to city-run gun buybacks passed through the House on a 36-23 vote on March 7, but not without attempts to exclude Pima County from the ban and accusations of gun fetishes.
HB 2455, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, prohibits the government from destroying a firearm unless it can’t be lawfully sold.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, introduced two floor amendments that failed. His first amendment excluded Pima County from the bill. The other amendment allowed for buybacks as long as the city wasn’t funding them.
“What the amendment is really attempting to do is allow governments to get in the business of destroying guns as long as they partner up with a private company,” said Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa.
Gallego argued that having police involved in buyback programs is helpful since they can then check serial numbers to see if a gun was involved in a crime.
Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, questioned this argument, asking if a private company funding a buyback program could hire a police officer to check serial numbers.
Gallego said the way he read the bill, it would prevent hiring a police officer for a buyback. Orr then asked if Legislative Council had determined that. Gallego said it hadn’t.
Gallego compared turning in guns to being able to turn in other harmful items such as old batteries.
Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, took offense to this comparison, arguing that someone might turn in a civil war gun, which has a lot of history and shouldn’t be compared to a battery.
Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he didn’t care if it was the first gun ever, if someone wants to destroy their property they should be able to do so.
“I think it is ridiculous that we are blocking [this amendment],” Gallego said. “And the only reason we are blocking this is because we have some weird gun fetishization where we deem that guns have some kind of intrinsic right.”