Tucson P.D. gun buyback in dispute

Jan. 10, 2013 at 5:20 PM
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TUCSON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A National Rifle Association official says he may sue to prevent the Tucson Police Department from destroying guns it collected this week in a buyback program.

The department collected 206 firearms Tuesday, the second anniversary of the shooting in which six people were killed and 13 others, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., were wounded.

The program came after a request by Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik, a Republican, who told National Public Radio he has been getting negative response, including threats of lawsuits, to the gun buyback.

Todd Rather, an Arizona lobbyist and NRA national board member, said he doesn't object to the buyback but he said Arizona law requires police to resell the firearms to the highest bidder, rather than destroy them, NPR reported.

"If property has been abandoned to the police, then they are required by ARS 12-945 to sell it to a federally licensed firearms dealer, and that's exactly what they should do," he said.

Kozachik says guns being turned in voluntarily to police are not being abandoned.

Nevertheless, Rathner said the NRA will go to court to try to prevent the destruction of the guns. Failing that, he said the NRA will "tweak" the law and "work with our friends in the Legislature and fix it."

As people arrived at the Tucson police station parking lot for the buyback Tuesday, gun-rights advocates carried signs advising the public they would pay double what police were offering to those who wanted to turn in firearms, NPR said.

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