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Phoenix City Council repeals ordinance allowing for transfer of firearms to Ukraine amid war

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Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari during a public hearing at City Council chambers near City Hall in downtown Phoenix. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Phoenix City Council moves to meet tenets of Arizona Attorney General findings
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Phoenix City Council has repealed a local ordinance meant to allow the transfer of used firearms to be sent in aid to the country of Ukraine amid the ongoing war on that nation’s soil.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes issued the findings of an investigation, which was requested by Arizona Reps. Quang Nguyen and Selena Bliss, Wednesday, Sept. 20, citing Phoenix ordinance S-50010 is in violation with state law.

Six days later, Phoenix City Council repealed the local ordinance.

“While my office has determined that Phoenix’s ordinance conflicts with state laws concerning firearm disposal, I am deeply troubled by these statutes,” Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a prepared statement.

“These laws are inflexible and frankly offensive to the victims of crime and communities affected by gun violence. The laws essentially mandate that confiscated firearms, most of which have been used in crimes, must be resold and put back on the streets. That is an insult to the survivors and victims of the original gun violence. These laws perpetuate a cycle where weapons are reintroduced into the very communities that have already been harmed by gun violence. The families of people who are murdered or maimed by gun violence should not have to live with the knowledge that those weapons are still on the streets.”

Phoenix City Council moves to meet tenets of Arizona Attorney General findings

Members of Phoenix City Council agree local government ought to have a say in how confiscated firearms ought to be handled.

“I am merely voting to repeal this ordinance to bring into compliance with Attorney General’s ruling,” said Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari during a Sept. 26 public hearing.

“However, I continue to be extremely, extremely disappointed that current state law prevents us from making our own community safety decisions. Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the United States. I’m sickened that we have to live in this reality and frustrated that we as city leaders, we are prohibited — and we have a choke-hold — in the fact that we are not able to do anything substantial to reduce gun violence in our communities. Reselling guns that have been used in crimes does not keep us safe, nor does it provide the city with any overwhelming stream of revenue.”

The ordinance repeal came during the Sept. 26 policy meeting at Phoenix City Council chambers near City Hall in downtown Phoenix.

“We lose billions of dollars each year to gun violence while we wait for more action at the state level,” Vice Mayor Ansari said during the public hearing.

Key Findings of the 1487 Investigation Report — which can be read HERE — points out among other legalese that the Arizona Legislature has declared gun regulations a matter of statewide concern.

“The city of Phoenix tried to reduce the number of guns on its streets while simultaneously supporting the brave Ukrainians fighting for freedom in the face of Russian aggression,” Ms. Mayes said. “While the city’s intent here is commendable, the legislature has chosen to prohibit this type of creative solution. Instead of filing complaints against cities like Phoenix, members of the legislature should focus on passing sensible gun legislation. Sound gun disposal legislation should aim to keep Arizonans safe while allowing local leaders to decide the best way to get rid of guns that have been used in the commission of a crime, based on what their communities need and want.”

Phoenix Councilwoman Kesha Hodge Washington explains she can appreciate the effort for a holistic solution but says local cities ought to be able to choose how to best protect constituents.

“I do share the sentiment expressed, and I do believe that the city needs a better avenue in which to dispose of firearms in a way that it deemed more appropriate,” she said at the public hearing. “I appreciate the attempt to create a holistic approach to this, but we should be given an opportunity to make decision … I agree with the final decision to repeal the ordinance under the findings.”

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