Phoenix Police Worked $10,000 of Overtime to Destroy 2,000 Guns Before New Law Went Into Effect Banning Gun Destruction

Earlier in 2013, The Arizona state legislature passed a law earlier this year that will ban the destruction of guns that are obtained through “bun buy back” programs. Instead, the new law requires that police sell firearms instead of melting them down. However, before the ban went into effect, the Phoenix police worked nearly 175 hours of overtime, at a cost of about $10,000, to ensure the destruction of 2,000 firearms that had been collected.

According to AZ Central:

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Buybacks in Phoenix offered grocery-store gift cards in exchange for guns and illustrated a widespread demand in the community for a safe way to dispose of unwanted weapons, said Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety. The group, which aims to prevent gun violence, helped coordinate the buybacks with police, Mayor Greg Stanton’s office and faith-based organizations.

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“I’m very happy we were able to get these destroyed before the law took effect,” Saizow said. “That’s what we promised the public, and no matter what the Legislature did, we needed to meet that objective.”

But critics of collection programs say they are an exercise in self-gratification for gun-control advocates but do nothing to enhance public safety.

Charles Heller, spokesman for the Arizona Citizens Defense League, a Tucson-based non-profit organization that advocates for gun rights, said the additional $10,000 Phoenix spent to process the weapons could have been better used arming and training residents.

“Maybe, just maybe, you could have a program that instructs poor people on just the basics in gun safety, so they could devote whatever meager resources they have to buying a gun,” Heller said.

I agree with Mr. Heller’s assessment.

However, this was not just limited to Phoenix police officers involved in the gun destruction. In addition to the overtime that officers worked, other agencies assisted in processing the weapons to see if they had been used in crimes. Among the agencies that assisted was the U.S. Border Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Sometimes, other agencies have people that need training, so they’ll bring them in, but a lot of it — the vast majority — was volunteers and reserves,” said Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Four of the weapons were stolen and were returned to their owners while a shotgun was linked to a 2010 shooting. One wonders how much tax money was paid for those stolen guns. This is a problem I’ve pointed out before with these buy back programs. The police are, in effect, possibly purchasing stolen goods. In other words, in at least four instances, the police department was engaged in the commission of a crime that would land you or I in jail, but because they are law enforcement, apparently the law doesn’t apply to them. They ask no questions and get no answers. Often, they don’t even know who the gun came from because they keep no record of who turned the gun in.

Police Departments and the Federal government should not be engaged in gun buy back programs. If people want to sell their firearms, there are plenty of people and businesses that will pay cash for their firearms, and more than likely a better deal than a cheap gift card from the police department. The anti-gun destruction law of Arizona is a good thing. They just need to stop police from engaging in buy back programs.

Finally, I can think of much better ways to spend $10,000 worth of taxpayer money than this, especially when Arizona is overrun with illegal immigrants.

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