On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate passed Senate Bill 1122, which prohibits local governments from requiring background checks for private party transfers. The bill is considered to be a legislative repercussion against the city of Tucson. In the past, Tucson has destroyed every gun it seized, something gun-rights activists says could violate state law.
Because of Tucson’s position on guns, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued Tucson under a state law that allows the state to pull funding from local governments whose policies contradict those of the states. In other words, Tucson has one option: repeal the ordinance or face significant funding shortages. Losing state funding would cost the city of Tucson $170 million.
The Tucson city council refused to repeal the ordinance. While the issue plays out in court, the council has decided to pause the gun destruction program.
According to Brnovich, gun control is a state-level issue, not a local issue.
SB 1122 is being considered the legislative remedy to the “Tucson problem.”
“This is over-wrought,” he said Tuesday during session. “This does not allow local cities or counties to do any type of a background check for any exchange of property including cars. This is being decided before the state Supreme Court right now so let’s not rush it. We should not be deicing for a city what’s best for the public safety of its citizens.”
The case Farley referenced pits Tucson against the state over its destruction of seized or surrendered firearms. The policy preempts state law which requires such firearms be sold, though a court decision in favor of Tucson would quash SB 1122, Farley said.
“The city of Tucson is arguing that gun regulations are a matter of local control,” he said. “I think we should wait to see what the court decides before we make any more laws that could be invalidated.”