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New AZ law bans cities, police from destroying guns

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill into law that could put an end to gun buyback programs.

The law will make it more difficult for people to give away their guns to have them destroyed.

Starting this summer, it will be against the law for Arizona towns, cities and law enforcement agencies to destroy any firearm seized or received voluntarily.

The bill was introduced shortly after the city of Tucson collected and destroyed more than 200 firearms earlier this year.

The city of Phoenix is also sponsoring the largest gun buyback in state history next month.

The event will take place on three consecutive Saturdays - May 4, May 11 and May 18.

Hildy Saizow is president of Arizonans for Gun Safety. She said that the new gun law, signed by the governor Monday night, will put more guns on the street and make our communities less safe.

"Victims of crime, victims of violence, gunshot survivors are appalled that the gun that was used to hurt them or hurt their family members could be put back on the street and used again for same purpose," said Saizow.

State Rep. Brenda Barton R-Payson, sponsored the bill that will change how gun buyback programs operate.

She recently told CBS5 News that local municipalities have been wasting taxpayers money by not reselling turned in weapons.

"I believe it's a waste to destroy something that can supplement their budget and budget line items," said Barton. "We're at a place in our economy where we need to make the best of everything we can."

Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos told CBS5 News that there are no statistics showing whether buyback programs actually reduce crime, but said that he's not convinced reselling guns is the answer either.

"Could there potentially be somewhere along the line where someone could be injured, or a gun be used in crime, there's always that potential," said Martos. "We were hoping to reduce that potential. Nonetheless, we'll comply with the law."

The new gun law will take effect in July and will not impact the Phoenix gun buyback program next month.

More more information on the Phoenix gun buyback event call 602-547-0976.

Martos said that the new law could put an end to gun buyback programs.

However, private businesses could sponsor similar events and destroy the weapons on their own.

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