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Dec 28, 2012 7:38 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson council member planning gun buyback event

TUCSON- From Connecticut to California, since the mass shooting in Newtown, CT, gun buyback events have been popping up across the country.

Now Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik is trying to bring a gun buyback event to Tucson. People can turn in their guns in exchange for at $50 gift card, no questions asked. "It's not at all about confiscation," Kozachik says. "What it is very simply, is voluntary."

He's trying to raise $5,000 in gift cards, which would take 100 guns off the streets.

Thanks to a $1,000 donation from Safeway, plus $3,000 in donations from other corporations, Kozachik has almost reached his goal. "We have a lot of home invasions and burglaries going on," Kozachik says. "If someone doesn't have their guns stored properly, they can be used in a crime later on, or in just an accidental shooting."

"You hear the NRA and some of the other gun advocates saying they don't want people who are untrained, unqualified, or just uncomfortable using guns," Kozachik says. "So this is something they should embrace, instead of losing their cookies over it and going nuts."

But NRA Board Member Todd Rathner says the buybacks don't work. "They turn in broken guns, old guns and guns that don't even work anymore," Rathner says. "And then they get a $50 gift certificate. If that makes Mr. Kozachik feel better, than more power to him."

Rathner says just because the guns are turned in, doesn't mean law enforcement will be able to keep them off the streets. "The state law is very specific, that they must sell those guns back to the public," Rathner says.

But he says there could be one benefit to the buybacks. "The one good effect that it may have is some stolen guns may get back to their rightful owners," Rathner says.

Kozachik hasn't set a date yet for the event, but says it would be nice to do it on January 8, exactly two years since the mass shooting at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle. Kozachik says it would be a way to honor the victims.

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