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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