Did Tucson's gun buy back have a price tag?

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Gun activist Ken Rineer says Tucson's January 8th gun buy back was a waste of taxpayer money.

He says the 45 officers who worked at the event and who took the guns to be destroyed, cost the taxpayers nearly $10,000.

"We used over 40 officers to take care of a 'turn-in' that realized no benefit," he says.

He was able to get a copy of the Tucson Police Department's Special Operation's Plan for the Ward 6 Gun Buy Back.

The plan outlines the purpose, mission and areas of operations. It also assigns officers to various tasks and concludes with a wrap up of the event.

At the end, it estimates the cost at $9,910.

Rineer uses that figure to tally the taxpayer cost.

"I would prefer law enforcement do law enforcement," he says. "Not baby sitting a bunch of people standing in line to turn in a firearm."

Rineer is President of Gun Owners of Arizona, a gun rights organization.

But Ward VI Council member Steve Kozachik disputes the charge.

"He's just flat wrong," he says. "It didn't cost them anything," referring to taxpayers.

Kozachik says all the officers were on straight time, there was no overtime involved.

And he says it was a public event.

"No one worked extra hours," he says.

Rineer also accuses Kozachik of not coming clean on the $10,000 he handed out in Safeway gift cards in exchange for the weapons.

"He's never accounted for that," Rineer says.

Kozachik disagrees.

"It was donated by private individuals," he says. "I went to Safeway, gave them cash, they gave me the cards, end of story."

But Rineer says he hopes it's the end of gun buy backs.

"Since we highlighted the cost and the types of firearms they acquired, we hope they won't do this again," he says.

As this debate goes on, the fate of HB2455 is still not known at the state legislature.

The bill would eliminate the kind of gun buy backs sponsored by Kozachik.

It still sits in the House, where it passed earlier.

After passage in the Senate, where 17 Amendment tries failed, it was sent back to the House but has seen not action.

The bill could be acted on later or it could languish in the House until the legislature adjourns.

Some feel it will be sent to the Governor just before the legislature goes sine die.

The legislature is still working on five to eight bills a day but so far, 2455 is not one of them.

But Kozachik feels it's the Governor not Rineer who will determine whether Tucson holds another buy back.

"If the Governor vetoes it, then we have the opportunity to have another buy back it we choose to and then Mr. Rineer can have a cow about that one," Kozachik says.

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