Arizona Republicans want investigation into Phoenix over Ukraine firearm policy

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(The Center Square)– Arizona House Republicans are calling on Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to investigate a city of Phoenix ordinance that permitted the donation of firearms to Ukraine.

The city ordinance was found to violate state law by Attorney General Kris Mayes, which led to the city’s decision to scrap the ordinance last month. It permitted 599 unclaimed firearms to be given to the National Police of Ukraine as they fight in a war with Russia.

Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham, as well as Reps. Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott Valley, and Selina Bliss, R-Prescott, wrote in a letter to Mitchell that there needs to be accountability for the city’s original action of passing the ordinance.

“Neither the AG’s Report nor the City’s repeal of its Ordinance absolves the City Mayor or Councilmembers of criminal or civil liability for their misconduct,” the lawmakers wrote to Mitchell.

“Although we agree with the Attorney General’s ultimate legal conclusion that the Ordinance unambiguously violates state law, significant and unsettled legal and factual questions remain. To this day, the City has refused to disclose to us the date that they illegally sent the firearms abroad. We also are not privy to any of the communications that apparently occurred between the City’s officials and the Attorney General’s office in connection with the S.B. 1487 investigation,” the Republicans continued.

Although Mayes did say that it was in conflict with state law, she expressed concern about the statutes themselves.

“While my office has determined that Phoenix’s ordinance conflicts with state laws concerning firearm disposal, I am deeply troubled by these statutes,” Mayes said in a statement, The Center Square reported Sept. 21. “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.”

The city told The Center Square that they have yet to receive legal notice on the issue. The county attorney’s office said in an email that they’re considering what to do next.

“MCAO has received the letter from members of the state legislature. We have begun an initial review of the law and the facts and are evaluating next steps,” the office said.

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