Tucson is asking Arizona lawmakers to consider a statewide prohibition on controversial bump stocks after the city attorney cautioned they can’t legally pass their own local ban.
The city, fresh from a loss at the hands of the Arizona Supreme Court over state gun preemption laws, wanted to move on a citywide bump stock ban, but shied away after the city attorney said they lacked the legal authority to enact one, local media reported.
“This legal analysis shows the state Legislature has effectively put us in a legislative straitjacket when it comes to adopting local ordinances that reflect the interests of our constituents on a local level,” said Councilman Steve Kozachik, who floated the idea of a ban on the devices two weeks ago.
The straitjacket in Kozachik’s description refers to a 2013 state law that forbids city and counties in Arizona from establishing regulations on guns under threat of loss of state funds. Last October a complaint filed under the law into Tucson’s policy of destroying confiscated and forfeited firearms saw the city hauled into court by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
In the end, the city was forced to scrap their gun destruction policy that left taxpayers liable for over $100,000 in legal fees resulting from defending the practice.
City Attorney Mike Rankin made clear the same could happen if Tucson reached for a bump stock ban, or worse. “The statute even includes a sanction on its face saying that the public officials who enact such an ordinance are subject to removal from office,” Rankin told the council.
In the end, the all-Democrat council adopted a non-binding resolution asking both Congress and state lawmakers to examine a ban of their own– or to allow cities in Arizona to go their own way on gun policy.