Arizona 'shoots down' Tucson's gun ordinance

Updated: May. 19, 2017 at 7:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Arizona State Legislature has again taken aim at Tucson's gun laws with the passage of SB 1122.

It was signed by Governor Doug Ducey on May 1, 2017.

The law, sponsored by Hereford Republican Gail Griffin, says, in essence, guns and refrigerators are the same, that both are personal property. It also says, a third party can't be used for personal property sales.

More about SB 1122 here:

What is meant by third party, when it comes to gun sales, is federal background checks.

Five years ago, Tucson passed an ordinance which says "person to person" gun sales on city property must be subject to a background check.

The state took the city to court, but the city prevailed because the courts ruled Tucson is a charter city which can determine its own destiny.

Some at the state have been trying to figure out a way around that since. This is the latest attempt.

For Ward VI city council member Steve Kozachik, it's a challenge the city is up to.

"Our policy is that anyone who sells something on our property, is going to go through a third party background check," he said.

Kozachik also said that includes all personal property and agrees that guns and refrigerators are personal property.

That bothers gun rights advocate Ken Rineer, who has been batting the city for 20 years and won a case several years ago over carrying guns in parks.

He believes the city has overstepped its bounds by requiring the checks.

"Guns is a victim of this," he said. "I'm the victim in this."

Still, Rineer has established his own criteria when selling guns to other people.

It's modeled after the federal law governing background checks.

He does it to protect, he says, "against liability" and if someone might use the gun in a crime.

He says he would not sell to someone "if they did not sign it."

But he won't extend that to the city of Tucson, which does not prohibit sales at the TCC but requires person to person to be governed by background checks.

"Because they're a government," he says and we're talking about personal property.

But Kozachik agrees guns are personal property but this issue being pressed by the state is not really about refrigerators, cars of couches, it's about guns.

And Kozachik has the courts on his side.

"The courts have already affirmed we can require that on our property and we do," he said. "It's a policy at the TCC."

In the meantime, Rineer says "I think what this is, the issue is a chess game between the state and the city of Tucson."

Which right now, is at a stalemate.

The city will do nothing unless or until it gets a challenge.

"If the state wants to nickel and dime us and drag us back in court, then we have the right to say you can't sell guns on our property," he said. "We may go in that direction at some point."

But at this point, the city will just "let it lie. and wait for the state to take them to court or a victim, which says it wants to hold gun shows at the TCC, to allege they are aggrieved. 

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