Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill on Monday requiring all firearms acquired through gun buyback events to be resold, rather than destroyed.
The bill requires seized or forfeited guns be sold to any business “authorized to receive and dispose of the firearm … that shall sell the firearm to the public according to federal and state law.”
Republicans in Arizona’s GOP-controlled legislature argued that destroying weapons seized by authorities was a waste of taxpayer resources. Now the money earned from selling the guns will be put into the local treasury.
Democrats argued that selling the firearms goes against the premise of gun-buyback event, defeating the purpose of people turning over their guns to keep them out of the hands of children or criminals.
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Brewer’s office claims the governor received emails, letter and calls from more than 1,900 people asking her to sign House Bill 2455. One of those letters was from the National Rifle Association, who claims that selling the appropriated guns "would maintain their value, and their sale to the public would help recover public funds."
The NRA said the bill still allows private groups to hold a gun buyback and destroy the acquired weapons.
Brewer received a letter from Democrat Rose Wilcox asking her to veto the bill. Wilcox, a Maricopa County Supervisor, who survived being shot in 1997 at the close of Board of Supervisors meeting, has led many buyback events. She wrote that the bill "would force the resale of guns that would otherwise never have been used for violence.”
"How many lives would be lost through the use of weapons our citizens hoped to be removed from the hands of criminals?" she wrote.
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Brewer signed a second bill on Monday that bans any city, town, or county from collecting or maintaining of any identifying information about a person who owns or sells a firearm.
Although there is no evidence that any Arizona city has such a list, supporters of the bill said they are acting offensively so that the government never gets the chance to start one. Now, only Arizona police will be able to keep records of gun ownership "in the course of a law enforcement investigation.”