Funds for guns

The Associated Press

TUCSON A pro-gun organization has filed a complaint against Pima County supervisors, charging that a gun buy-back program netting hundreds of firearms should not be funded by public money.

Bernie Oliver, president of Brassroots, Inc., says it is illegal for the county to have donated $15,000 to a minority group running the buy-back program this weekend. The African-American/Hispanic Dialogue brought in more than 600 guns on Saturday alone.

Brassroots, which has 350 members in the Tucson area, filed a complaint Thursday with the Pima County Attorney's Office.

Oliver says state law does not permit the county to spend money on a buy-back program and that the Board of Supervisors who approved the funding are personally liable to return the money.

The City Council gave the program $10,000. Oliver said Brassroots also objects to the city funding, but has not yet filed a complaint against them because ''the city derives their power differently,'' he said.

The county is governed by state law, while Tucson has its own city charter.

The gun buy-back program may also violate federal firearms laws, which prohibit anyone except a licensed dealer from engaging in firearms dealing, Oliver said, as well as laws prohibiting receiving stolen property, as some of the guns may be stolen.

Deputy County Attorney David Dingeldine said the complaint is invalid, noting that county funds go towards social programs each year, even though state law doesn't specifically empower them to pay for those programs.

Dingeldine said the sheriff's department will check any guns turned in to determine if they are stolen and, if so, will return the guns to their rightful owners.

Read Next Article