Proposed Arizona Legislation May End Gun Buyback Programs

Friday, 01 Mar 2013 05:29 PM

By Cyrus Afzali

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A bill introduced in the Arizona legislature would require weapons collected at gun buyback programs to be recirculated either by selling or trading them to licensed dealers.

If passed, the bill would require the collected guns to be sold to a federally-licensed firearms dealer or traded for ammunition or equipment. Passage would likely end gun buybacks in the state.

Some opponents also cite a state law that requires governments to auction abandoned property to the highest bidder, which is why they want the guns sold to a licensed firearms dealer.

The proposed Arizona law is modeled after a 1998 bill passed in Kentucky that requires police to sell guns seized from criminals. Alaska and Tennessee have passed similar legislation.

The National Rifle Association and other groups have called for an end to the programs. They say anything that diminishes the utility of firearms, including destroying weapons following a buyback, is gun control.

Speaking to BusinessWeek magazine, some experts, such as John Vernick of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also say there’s little evidence gun buybacks actually reduce crime. Gun buybacks are held, they say, because they’re far easier to execute than passing additional gun control laws.

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