Arizona Attorney General’s Office Finds City of Phoenix’s Ordinance Authorizing Transfer of Guns to Ukraine Unlawful

On Wednesday, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office released a statutorily required investigative report following a complaint filed last month by Representatives Quang Nguyen and Selena Bliss regarding the City of Phoenix’s ordinance authorizing the transfer of guns to Ukraine. The report finds that the ordinance is in conflict with A.R.S. §§ 12-945, 12-943, and 13-3108(A).

“While my office has determined that Phoenix’s ordinance conflicts with state laws concerning firearm disposal, I am deeply troubled by these statutes,” said Attorney General Mayes. “These laws are inflexible and frankly offensive to the victims of crime and communities affected by gun violence. The laws essentially mandate that confiscated firearms, most of which have been used in crimes, must be resold and put back on the streets. That is an insult to the survivors and victims of the original gun violence. These laws perpetuate a cycle where weapons are reintroduced into the very communities that have already been harmed by gun violence. The families of people who are murdered or maimed by gun violence should not have to live with the knowledge that those weapons are still on the streets.”

“The City of Phoenix tried to reduce the number of guns on its streets while simultaneously supporting the brave Ukrainians fighting for freedom in the face of Russian aggression,” said Mayes. “While the City’s intent here is commendable, the Legislature has chosen to prohibit this type of creative solution. Instead of filing complaints against cities like Phoenix, members of the legislature should focus on passing sensible gun legislation. Sound gun disposal legislation should aim to keep Arizonans safe while allowing local leaders to decide the best way to get rid of guns that have been used in the commission of a crime, based on what their communities need and want.”

Key Findings of the 1487 Investigation Report:

  • Statewide Concern for Firearms Regulation: The Arizona legislature has declared that the regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern, thus limiting the ability of any political subdivision in Arizona to regulate firearms and ammunition.
  • Ordinance Violates A.R.S. § 12-945: The Phoenix ordinance does not align with A.R.S. § 12-945, which requires agencies in possession of unclaimed firearms to sell them to an authorized business. Phoenix’s ordinance directs these firearms to be donated instead, thereby conflicting with state law.

The City has 30 days to resolve the violation in compliance with state law.