Arizona Protects Its Endangered Guns

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, left, during the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

On Monday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation reinforcing existing laws prohibiting local governments from destroying weapons they collect from the community. This is the third law Brewer has signed protecting the life of guns since she became governor.

Previous laws required municipalities to sell guns found or seized, but the new law makes it clear this prohibition also applies to guns which are voluntarily surrendered — often through police buyback programs.

Instead of being melted down, these guns must be used by the police or sold to the general public – in other words, put back into the very circulation from which violence easily erupts. To be even clearer, guns that leave the hands of people who would just as well do without them, will now be placed into the hands of those who, by and large, relish pulling the trigger.

Writing in The Arizona Sun, Howard Fischer reports that many of the 1,900 emails, letters and calls urging Brewer to sign the bill were encouraged by a single group, the Arizona Citizens Defense League, which, according to Fischer, “sent out notices to those on its mailing list urging them to click on a link to send a letter to Brewer.”

The Associated Press reports that one of those letters came from the NRA, “which argued that selling seized or forfeited guns ‘would maintain their value, and their sale to the public would help recover public funds.’ The NRA letter said the bill doesn’t prevent a private group from holding an event and destroying the weapons.”

So, basically, the pro-gun-life argument is that since everyone else is making money off guns, why shouldn’t local governments get a piece of that action? (consequences notwithstanding), and that the destruction of a firearm is a private matter between a gun owner and his firearm. So if you really want to destroy a gun, says the new law, no problem — do it yourself. After all, can destroying a weapon of destruction be that much harder or more dangerous than setting your DVR?

Fisher writes that the law will have a chilling effect on programs audaciously designed to get guns off the street… by getting guns off the street. “Any chance of cities or counties conducting future gun-buyback programs is about to evaporate,” he writes.

Not since the Supreme Court gave corporations First Amendment privileges has so much life been bestowed on non-living objects — especially ironic, given the purpose of these particular objects is to end life in its tracks. Who knew that guns had their own pro-life movement?

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  • JonThomas

    I actually think that not destroying guns is a good idea.

    Guns are obviously products much different than paper plates. A gun,
    properly maintained, can last more than a lifetime. If you destroy confiscated,
    or surrendered guns, then the gun companies will have opportunity to sell more
    guns. If the gun companies sell more guns, then the opponents of reasonable gun
    control measures(such as universal background checks) will have more funding.

    I’m sure that in the present atmosphere it will be difficult, if not
    impossible, but I personally think all private gun sales(especially handguns
    and ‘assault style weapons’) should be controlled.

    All flea market, gun show, private(neighbor to neighbor, family member to
    family member,) and garage sale purchases should be restricted. If you want to
    legally sell a used gun, then you should have go to a police station to have
    the transaction recorded.

    Instead of destroying confiscated guns, then simply have reasonable
    restrictions for their resale. Limit the number of guns a person can buy. Record
    all purchases. Register the guns at the public sale.

    These reasonable measures will also help save tax money, as I’m sure there
    are costs to destroying guns.

  • Larry Mccarty

    Why are the manufacturers not “up in arms” about this? Every used gun being resold is one less brand new one flying off the shelf…. not that I’m worried about the financial well being of the companies, just the opposite in fact.

  • Anonymous

    Love how those who favor gun “rights” want government out of their lives, but think it’s ok to tell others how to run theirs.

  • JonThomas

    The gun manufactures and their known political interest groups can’t be publicly seen as being against this measure.

    It’s a publicity problem caused by an internal political quagmire within the
    gun rights community.

    ‘Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.’

    If they come out for the destruction of confiscated guns, then ‘Joe
    Gun-Owner’ will be ‘up in arms'(sorry couldn’t resist) and he may potentially see through the real political objectives of gun manufactures.

    If they come against the destruction, then as you point out, they lose
    potential profits.

    So, they have to stride a fence. In public they will use their NRA attack
    dogs to praise the saving of guns, but behind the screens they will use
    influence to affect the choices of numerous other communities.

    They may even use another, more stealth group(they may have to start one lol) to collect public support. The game does get complicated at times.

  • Anonymous

    Insanity prevails!

  • Kirk Bruner

    I get this. I’m initially opposed to Brewer’s law, but I see the logic in your post. My only problem with it is that I cannot see private parties going to a police station to record a transaction, even if they’re otherwise law-abiding citizens. I believe gun flea markets are no different than if someone had cigarette or booze-selling flea markets. All are a danger to public safety.

  • Anonymous

    There are several steel mills in Arizona. They could easily pool some of their petty cash, buy these guns as private citizens, and consign them to the furnace.
    Years ago when I was a steelmaking supervisor, (in another state), one of my favorite days each year was when a parade of cops would escort a large wooden crate filled with confiscated / buyback guns up to the furnace floor and I would pick it up with a forklift and drop it into the furnace.
    Instruments of death began to be transformed at that moment, by my hand, into I-beams for somebody’s construction project.
    Swords into plowshares.

  • Bob Kimpton

    Lets back up a moment…the whole idea of the government buying guns from individuals was a bad idea from the beginning. Do you really think that the bad guys are going to sell their guns?

  • Pat Elgee

    Pro-life bill for guns is beyond stupid.
    Why not sell them to the Mexican drug cartels?
    Or how about giving them to prisoners as they are parolled?
    The smartest move would be to stop the manufacturing of them in the first place.
    Colt just opened another factory in FL.
    80% of all their weapons are exported to Mexico and end up in the hands of the drug cartels.
    So Colt legally arms the scum that poisons our people and kills our law enforcement.
    Why is this not treason?
    Why is this not gun running?
    Perhaps AZ can sell the guns to NM and they can melt them down.

  • Annie Loyd

    wow – as a resident of arizona i am left more amazed then i have been in the past 15 years with this one – when will this insanity end? i propose groups of us pool our cash buy the guns and create one more public piece of art in the shape of a peace sign this time so say the culture of PEACE is a human and constitutional right – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • Anonymous

    It was done in Australia and it worked. Not bad for a country that began (as far as the white folks anyway) as a penal colony. The USAs gun fetish is really creepy.

  • joe ebbitt

    Just more Christians taking back America

  • Mike Miledi

    It will end when the people of Arizona say enough and vote these psychos out. Whatever you can do to get your neighbors to vote these sub-mental psychopaths out of office.

  • Larry Mccarty

    Taking it back from whom? And why do Christians need guns? Their deity decides when their time on earth is up and no matter how many guns they have nothing is going to change that (according to their bible)

  • Rafael Navarro

    Taking back America, to the Dark Ages. Our state is full of contradictions, just like Joe’s statement.

  • Charles Richard Brown

    She is just a puppet of anyone with enough money to buy her.

  • Charles Richard Brown

    Taking it back? When was it ever theirs?

  • Stibber

    It hasn’t worked. Australia’s violent crime rate has skyrocketed. Further proof that bad guys (criminals and power-hungry politicians) just don’t care about the law and will take advantage of a disarmed populace.

  • Stibber

    The guns they get at these buy-backs are 90% “junk guns”. They are typically old single-shot shotguns, .22 rifles, and such. Nothing that a violent criminal or even a homeowner needing personal protection would want. They are basically a big show that does not one thing for reduction in gun violence except make some people feel good about themselves. No criminal hell-bent on violence is about to give up their illegally obtained firearms for a McDonald’s gift card.

  • Linda Smith

    What is the problem precisely? The state sells firearms to law-abiding citizens, after a background check, and generates revenue in the process.

    Are you sure you’re not against the Bill of Rights?

  • Anonymous

    Silly liberals. Everyone knows that Baby Jesus owned an AR15.
    What’s desperately needed is another law outlawing the abortion of any gun during the manufacturing process. Anyone that starts building a gun but fails to bring that gun fully into the world should be charged with a felony.

  • Kathy NeverSurrender Egan

    We should melt guns to make the image of Bruja pointing her finger at the President. Her legacy.

  • Anonymous

    Mexico found something better to do with their confiscated guns: give them to an artist:

  • Bridgett Cash

    Where exactly do you think criminals get their guns in the first place? Either from “law abiding” yet irresponsible gun owners who allow them to be stolen or from private gun sellers and gun shows who don’t give 2 shits about who gets their guns.

  • Kiz Magritz

    “Why is this not treason?” you ask.

    1) Because it’s the Constitutional right of a patriotic Amurrican corporate “person” and

    2) because it’s *highly* profitable for a small few, and that trumps everything.

    It’s the American Way!

  • Joe Arizona

    our governor is an idiot I am embarrassed to be an Arizonian. thank you Greg Stanton for trying to do the right thing.

  • Lori Fan

    Guns are people too, apparently. What’s next? One gun, one vote.

  • Johnny Smith

    The buyback groups could sell them to gun buyback programs in other states or municipalities for $.01 each. Those other states or municipalities would be free from Arizona law.

  • Aminda R Courtwright
  • Johnny Smith

    Don’t you believe in the free enterprise system? Should municipalities who are given these guns for free or at a great discount be allowed to compete against legitimate gun sales? Will you be happy when the government puts legitimate businesses out of business because of their ability to buy and sell at great discounts?

  • Daniel Keating

    nope–can’t sell guns out of state unless an FFL in the originating state transfers them to an FFL in that other state.–that adds $25 to each gun as the licensee needs to make money. Plus the city of Tucson incurred an expense in excess of $10,000 for police time, mobile command center usage ,cartage . It costs about $25 each to ship them as well

  • Robert Carlson

    They need a “barrel bending press” for citizens to render the gun unusable BEFORE turning it in for the fee. That way the government can sell them in any way the Jan Brewer Silliness Gun Act requires.

  • Austin

    Gun buybacks are crap anyway. The police ate NOT ALLOWED to check a gun turn in via a buyback program against known crimes. I’ve had cops tell me how at buybacks known gang members show up, unload about a dozen firearms, and leave. Odds are those guns were used in a crime, but that crime will go unsolved because they’re not even allowed to note down who brought the weapon in!

  • Owen Johnson

    The insanity in Arizona politics continues. However, note that this law exempts private buy-back programs, and there have been many of those around the country. I suspect there would be a constitutional problem with including private groups in the new law, otherwise they would have done that, too.
    As someone else noted here, many – if not most – of the guns that get turned in are not only old and obsolete, but a good percentage sometimes are non-functional. So, Gov Brewer, what is a police department supposed to do with those? Selling them for scrap metal would be tantamount to destroying them, wouldn’t it? Maybe they could store them all indefinitely – at Brewer’s house.

  • Owen Johnson

    Really? I never thought of that, but sure, a gangbanger could turn in a gun he used to kill someone yesterday and they can never do a ballistics test as part of an investigation.

  • Howard L. Marcus

    A gun is a tool. destroying a usefull tool is wasteful and stupid but then again that is what Liberals are after all…

  • Marmooset

    You’re talking crap. That’s why the police are necessary in buyback programs. They do that very thing.

  • Michael Cruise

    She is repulsive.

  • Michael Cruise

    Are you sure you even understand the Bill of Rights? By the way, it doesn’t go unnoticed that people like you omit reference to every other constitutional amendment now because…let’s face it…you’re a cherry picking bunch of “patriots”.

    I would wager that the majority of people that participate in the gun buybacks, do so because it is their desire to have these guns permanently off the market. As such, this is akin to giving those individuals the middle finger.

    If people wanted to sell their firearms, they could do it without using a buyback program. This amounts to going against the will of the people that participate.

    If you are in favor of that, it is you that has the problem with the democratic process.

  • Michael Cruise

    The bad guys are the ones pretending to be good guys whilst they sell firearms without performing background checks to people who go on to commit crimes with them.

    This notion of good guys and bad guys is so overly simplistic and juvenile.

  • Michael Cruise


  • Anonymous

    You are absolutely wrong about the Aussie stats. As for the gun proliferation in the U.S. … seems to me I remember a time when people didn’t feel like they had to be armed to the teeth. But that was a long time ago, before the NRA and the arms industry owned Congress … especially the GOP!

  • Michael Bullington

    I love Jan Brewer. I wish she were our governor (California)