Mayes determines Phoenix’s Ukraine firearm transfer is unlawful

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes determined that a Phoenix city ordinance allowing the transfer of guns to Ukraine is unlawful.

Republican state Reps. Quang Nguyen and Selina Bliss filed a complaint in July, asking the office to look at the legality of the ordinance.

“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. “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.”

According to the news release, the ordinance goes against A.R.S. §§ 12-945, 12-943, and 13-3108(A). Despite the legal issues, Mayes said that Republicans in the Legislature sought to interfere with a “creative solution” to prevent gun violence while supporting Ukraine’s efforts in their war with Russia.

“The City of Phoenix tried to reduce the number of guns on its streets while simultaneously supporting the brave Ukrainians fighting for freedom in the face of Russian aggression,” Mayes said. “While the City’s intent here is commendable, the Legislature has chosen to prohibit this type of creative solution. Instead of filing complaints against cities like Phoenix, members of the Legislature should focus on passing sensible gun legislation. Sound gun disposal legislation should aim to keep Arizonans safe while allowing local leaders to decide the best way to get rid of guns that have been used in the commission of a crime, based on what their communities need and want.”

Nguyen and Bliss, who are chair and vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, respectively, released a joint statement in support of the attorney general’s conclusion.

“We appreciate the Attorney General’s report affirming the City of Phoenix ordinance’s violation of state law,” the Republicans said.

In addition, they criticized Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and the city council for their actions as report was in process.

“It is frustrating that Mayor Kate Gallego and Councilmembers were informed of this as far back as July 3, yet Mayor Gallego then willfully disregarded state law and rushed the transfer of these firearms abroad. Then, while a pending investigation into the ordinance’s legality was underway, the City attempted to cancel the arrangement altogether to avoid the Attorney General’s report. That’s not leadership, it’s shameful. As public officials, it is imperative that we uphold the rule of law and respect our state constitution. Witnessing Mayor Gallego blatantly neglect this responsibility, especially with full awareness of the law and its implications, is disheartening.”

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