Tucson’s gun destruction lawsuit will cost taxpayers $100K

09/15/17 9:00 AM | by

The city of Tucson lost a lawsuit over whether its policy of destroying seized guns contradicted state law and will now have to pay court fees as well.

Tucson attorney Richard Rollman confirmed in a Tuesday letter to the Attorney General’s Office that the city and its taxpayers will foot the bill for the time the case was being considered by the Arizona Supreme Court, the Arizona Republic reported. Those fees add up to a cool $100,000.

During the dispute, Tucson had argued that the Arizona Constitution gave it the right as a charter city to control local matters, including its policy of destroying firearms seized by law enforcement. The Supreme Court then ruled against the city, saying the policy contradicted a state law passed in 2016 that requires local governments to comply with state law. The Supreme Court also noted  Arizona state law requires confiscated firearms to be sold at auction.

Tucson then recently agreed to repeal the city ordinance that required the destruction of all seized or surrendered guns unless those guns could be used for police training. If continued, that policy would have cost the city tens of millions in annual state-shared revenues.

According to city records, the Tucson Police Department had been destroying some seized firearms for more than a decade and demolished a total of 4,820 guns since 2013. With the ordinance now repealed, the department should begin auctioning off confiscated firearms within the next few months.

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