PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Phoenix city councilwoman Yassamin Ansari is pushing for change. She is against a state law that requires cities to resell confiscated or forfeited guns.
“That in a time of trying to reduce gun violence, in the City of Phoenix, we should not be in the business of selling weapons.” said Ansari.
Phoenix City Council was supposed to discuss a five-year contract to resell guns to Sierra Tactical Auctions, but the item was withdrawn Wednesday. Ansari said she would like to see more options on the table. “I felt like we did not have a robust conversation so the city staff withdrew the item today so we could have a conversation about alternatives and solutions to see what we can do,” said Ansari.
In 2013, a state law was amended to prevent cities from destroying firearms confiscated by law enforcement agencies. “That was set there for a reason, the reason is that the state was the controlling legal authority on firearms,” said Charles Heller with the Arizona Citizens Defense League.
Heller believes that state law is beneficial to taxpayers and confiscated guns are assets that should not be destroyed. However, Ansari disagrees. “I have been told that families find it very offensive and disrespectful. I have heard that the guns that we would be reselling may have been used in suicides or murder or some kind of crime,” said Ansari.
Ansari said the city is currently keeping the confiscated and forfeited guns in storage. She is asking state lawmakers to consider repealing the law on the books and hopes to use the guns for other purposes. “Using them for city art projects. I have even heard the idea of having them be used for infrastructure projects. They can be melted and turned into benches or things for the community,” said Ansari.