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Nov 7, 2013 11:05 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Law forces Marana police to sell guns

MARANA - The Marana Police Department is selling about 120 guns that have been locked up in evidence.

A new Arizona law mandates they are sold and not destroyed.

Marana Police have not paid to destroy legal firearms in the past, according to Sgt. Jose Alvarez. Weapons that have been illegally modified or have no serial numbers cannot be resold.

The state law was written largely in response to an event where Tucson Police collected and paid to destroy unwanted guns on January 7, 2013.

It was organized by City Councilman Steve Kozachik. He does not oppose Marana's sale, but he thinks people should have the ability to dispose of their private property.

"A law enforcement entity is a logical place to go to have your gun taken out of circulation," Kozachik said, "if that is your choice."

Federally licensed firearm dealers will have the ability to view Marana's selection on November 13 from 8 a.m. until noon. They must bid on the entire collection, not just the valuable weapons, by November 22. Alvarez did not have any estimate on how much money he expected.

"They're going to have to show proof that they're licensed to sell firearms, and they're reputable people that do business," Alvarez said. "We're going to trust that they do their due diligence in selling the firearms, doing the proper background checks."

The collection includes a variety of handguns, rifles and shotguns. It does not include any semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s or AK-47s, according to Alvarez.

Tommy Rompel owns Black Weapons Armory and wants to look at the inventory.

"You're obviously looking at bigger shops, and some shops in town actually do specialize more in used stuff and estates," Rompel said. "So I expect them to be there, but I don't think it's a huge quantity of dealers looking to buy that kind of quantity."

He supports the state law banning the guns' destruction.

"I'm glad the law happened," Rompel said. "Even though there's some junk stuff, there is collectible stuff that, to me, is a travesty to destroy."

The money will go to the Town's general fund.

"We can use some of the funds to purchase the equipment for our officers to do their duties every single day," Alvarez said. "Which in turn, is going to help protect the citizens of Marana and the state of Arizona."

The Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff's Department have stopped destroying guns, but they have no plans to sell weapons in the future.

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