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Bill would bar turned-in guns from being destroyed

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PHOENIX -

What do you do with guns surrendered in those weapons buyback programs? Should they be destroyed? Or should they be sold?

A new bill that just passed out of an Arizona House committee Wednesday would change state law -- preventing police agencies from destroying weapons.

At issue is what to do with guns taken in from weapons buyback programs. State Representative Justin Pierce says, under the law, police agencies are supposed to sell them to licensed dealers.

But because of a loophole in the law local municipalities have been deciding for themselves what to do with them -- and some are choosing to destroy them.

"We don't want you taking in the guns this way, we don't want municipalities to engage in a quote on quote buyback program, purchase these firearms for the sole purchase of destroying them," says Arizona Rep. Justin Pierce, Republican.

Pierce says it's not the state's responsibility if someone wants to get rid of a gun.

"It's their property, they can do what they wish, if they want to take measures to destroy the firearm they are within their liberties to do that."

"What's the difference? We represent the people. The people are asking for assistance, no one knows what to do with a gun, how do you destroy it? Throw it in the garbage? What do you do?" counters Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Mary Rose Wilcox, a victim of gun violence herself, says the language of the new bill is just a way to get rid of gun buyback programs altogether.

"We had an older man come in with his son, put an AK-47 on the table. There's no questions asked. We don't ask how they got it, why they want to get rid of it. We take that gun. In their wildest imagination would never think we would recirculate it back to the public to sell it," says Wilcox.

"It's not against the second amendment, it's not against the right to carry arms, it's an avenue and tool for law enforcement to say, we will help you get rid of that gun."

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