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New law forces guns turned in at buyback events to be resold

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PHOENIX -

Phoenix police bought back hundreds of guns this past weekend in what's been described as a hugely successful gun buyback event. But now those city-sponsored events may be finished thanks to a bill signed into law by the governor late last month.

We talked with one of the bill's sponsors. We also took a look at what police do with all those guns.

Police bought back more than 800 guns on Saturday -- shotguns, handguns, and rifles got a $100 Bashas' gift card -- $200 gift cards for assault rifles.

Police say the whole point of these programs is to get the guns off the street. They are working to destroy those guns, because when that new law takes effect, they'll be forced to sell the weapons.

Before the bought-back guns can be destroyed, police fire them so they can save ballistic evidence.

"These we will be able to analyze and determine, ok these came from these specific guns, and we will be trying to link these casings to other crimes," says Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos.

Police have to do that with 442 handguns, 162 shotguns, and 198 rifles collected this past Saturday. Police have scheduled two more buyback events, but those may be the last, thanks to the state legislature.

"Do we do the same things for confiscated cars, houses and boats that are confiscated in a crime? No, we don't, we auction them off, put them out to bid, or they use them for a law enforcement tool," says State Rep. Sonny Borelli Lake Havasu Republican.

State Representative Sonny Borelli co-sponsored the bill that forces police agencies to resell guns collected at events like this one rather than destroy them.

"A gun is a tool, it can be used for good things or bad things. So take something that is negative and turn it into a positive. I don't see the problem with that."

After a buyback event and a flurry of proposed ordinances in Tucson, Borelli says legislators sprang into action.

"It was a political ploy to bring gun rights back to the surface and something to argue about," says Borelli.

Now, police don't have many options, and Phoenix PD is working to process and destroy these weapons before the new law kicks in. It takes effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

Phoenix police tell us this past weekend buyback event was so successful, they're running out of gift cards for the next two events.

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