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Phoenix cancels contract to send unclaimed guns to National Police of Ukraine

Phoenix has formally canceled plans to donate hundreds of unclaimed firearms to the National Police of Ukraine. City leaders had little choice after two state representatives complained.

Republican lawmakers Quang Nguyen and Selina Bliss filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office alleging Phoenix violated state law by donating rather than selling unclaimed guns. 

In announcing her ruling last week, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said, “While my office has determined that Phoenix's ordinance conflicts with state laws concerning firearm disposal, I am deeply troubled by these statutes. These laws are inflexible and frankly offensive to the victims of crime and communities affected by gun violence."

Phoenix planned to ship between 500 and 600 firearms valued at about $200,000 to the National Police of Ukraine. Instead, Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari joined her colleagues Tuesday and repealed an ordinance which canceled a contract with a private company to export them.

“However I continue to be extremely, extremely disappointed that current state law prevents us from making our own community safety decisions,” she said. “Reselling guns that have been used in crimes does not keep us safe, nor does it provide the city with any overwhelming stream of revenue.”

If Phoenix had not canceled the donation, the city would have risked losing tens of millions in state shared revenues.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.