Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Well, here's something I didn't expect to hear about: NRA board member and lobbyist Todd Rathner claims that the end result of yesterday's gun buyback in midtown Tucson—the planned destruction of the guns bought by the Tucson Police Department for $50 in gift cards—is illegal according to Arizona State Law.
Rathner says Arizona state law forces local governments to sell seized or abandoned property to the highest bidder.
"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 says.
That way, Rathner says, the guns can be put back in circulation or given away.
The Tucson city attorney calls that a misreading of the law.
Councilman Kozachik says the guns aren't being abandoned; they're being turned in voluntarily.
"This is about giving somebody the chance to say, 'Look I'm not comfortable having this weapon, here's an opportunity for me to just get rid of it in a proper manner,' " Kozachik says.
That's important. But what's key is Rathner's next quote, where he basically says that if the law doesn't work in the NRA's favor, the NRA will get lawmakers to make it work:
Rathner says the NRA will ask for an accounting of every weapon turned in and then go to court to stop the firearms from being destroyed. If that doesn't work, Rathner says they'll change the law.
"We just go back and we tweak it and tune it up, and we work with our friends in the Legislature and fix it so they can't do it," Rathner adds.
My question is, does the trade of a gun for a gift card constitute a sale through bartering? Does TPD destroy firearms that are deemed unfit for service?
These are a few things worth looking into over the next few days.