In what’s being called a victory for gun owners and taxpayers, the Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Tucson city ordinance allowing for the destruction of confiscated firearms in violation of state law.
In 2000, Arizona’s legislature passed a statute asserting exclusive authority over the regulation of guns and ammunition. Despite this, in 2005 Tucson passed an ordinance legalizing the destruction of unclaimed or forfeited firearms. The legislature, in response, enacted two additional statutes in 2013 prohibiting local entities from “facilitating the destruction of a firearm,” instead requiring them to sell the guns to lawful gun dealers.
Since then, Tucson has destroyed nearly 5,000 additional firearms—prompting the 2016 passage of Senate Bill 1487, which states that if the attorney general determines a local ordinance is in conflict with state law, the state may withhold revenue from the local entity.
In response to Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s determination that Tucson may be in violation, the city sued and the matter was referred to the Arizona Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed that Tucson could not continue to flout state firearms law. In addition, the leading opinion validated NRA’s argument that protecting the right to keep and bear arms in particular as enshrined in the state and federal constitutions is a matter of statewide concern, and that the enactments of the legislature on this subject take precedence.