Tucson leaders look to tighten gun ordinance

Published: Jul. 6, 2016 at 3:36 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 6, 2016 at 11:03 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson city unanimously passed an an updated amendment to its ordinance restricting the city's gun ordinance covering the Tucson Convention Center on Wednesday, July 6, at the council's study session.

In 2013, the city passed an ordinance which requires gun sales on city property to be subject to background checks.

It effectively ended the traditional gun shows and sales at the TCC. None has been held there since 2012.

The new restrictions to the present ordinance "would add a requirement that would prohibit the sale of any weapon, .22 gauge or larger, that is capable of firing 10 or more rounds without reloading, and/or the sale of any clip or magazine that is capable of holding 10 or more rounds of ammunition."

The restrictions are supported by Ward 1 Council member Steve Kozachik and Ward 3 member Karin Uhlich.

"We're just simply seeking to be sure that our venue, the Tucson Convention Center be managed appropriately and reflect the will of the people of Tucson," said Uhlich.

But the new restrictions may not be all they seem.

The state legislature passed Senate Bill 1266 in this legislative session and Gov. Doug Ducey signed it in May.

The bill prohibits Tucson or any other municipality or county from passing any and all gun laws or restrictions.

A violation calls for a $50,000 fine.

City leaders met in executive session last month to discuss options and to look for a way to challenge the ban.

But Kozachik says the ordinance amendment, while it may provoke the state, that is not the intent.

"This is beyond symbolism, he said. "This is  a statement of principle that this governing body has not only the right but an obligation to embrace," he said.

But it goes even deeper still.

State lawmakers also passed SB 1487 which the governor signed in March.

It states Tucson, or any other municipality or county government cannot pass a law or ordinance which is "in violation of state law."

Any lawmaker can ask for an Arizona Attorney General investigation and if found guilty, the penalty is withholding state shared revenues.

In Tucson's case, that could be millions of dollars.

But Tucson is confident it will prevail as it has in recent state challenges to its election laws.

Tucson is a charter city which gives it considerable leeway to determine its own destiny without interference from state government.

The city feels confident it will win the case.

When it passed the ordinance in 2013 there were threats from lawmakers but no lawsuit or challenge materialized.

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