Arizona lawmaker wants Tucson to stop destroying guns

Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem (R)
Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem (R)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona lawmaker says the city of Tucson is violating a state law by destroying guns turned in by residents or seized from crime investigations.

Rep. Mark Finchem has filed a complaint accusing Tucson of violating a 2013 law that requires otherwise legal guns obtained by law enforcement agencies be sold, not destroyed, The Arizona Daily Star reported. City records show that the Tucson Police Department has destroyed 4,820 guns since the beginning of 2013.

Finchem, an Oro Valley Republican, argues that the city is destroying valuable public property.

"The city of Tucson flagrantly violated state statutes and deprived the taxpayers of the opportunity to obtain a fair-market value of a public asset," he said in a news release. Finchem added that the firearms should have been auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Finchem filed the complaint under a law signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey this year. It states that local governments can lose their state-shared revenue if they violate state laws and don't stop doing so.

Tucson received $172 million from the state last year.

Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin sent state Attorney General Mark Brnovich a 16-page letter explaining why he does not believe the destruction of city property falls under the legal control of the Legislature.

"This is a matter of solely local concern in which the state Legislature may not interfere," Rankin wrote. He said the laws Finchem cited don't apply to the city's handling of guns, which it has been destroying for more than a decade.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the complaint is a legal matter, not a political one. He said the new law signed by Ducey challenges the sovereign status of cities.


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