The Phoenix, Arizona police department [official website] on Saturday held the first of three gun buyback programs [press release] in an attempt to complete the buyback before a law [HB 2455, text] signed by Governor Jan Brewer [official website] on April 29 that requires surrendered weapons to be sold instead of destroyed takes effect. The law will take effect on July 29. Opponents stated that the law was counterproductive [AP report] because the key goal was to reduce the number of guns on the street, but also implied that the law was so full of loopholes that buyback events may still be able to prevent the guns from returning to the public. Proponents stated that the law was a resource for the government to bring in revenue and that destruction of the guns is a waste of government funds. Police estimated receiving more than 800 guns at Saturday's buyback and each weapon will have its serial number checked and undergo ballistics testing to see if it is tied to a shooting.
Gun control has been the center of national attention since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting [WSJ backgrounder] in December. On Friday US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] warned [JURIST report] Kansas that a recently enacted law intended to block enforcement of federal gun regulations was unconstitutional. In March a Kansas legislative committee approved a bill that would allow the open carry [JURIST report] and transport of firearms around the state. In April the Maryland Senate gave final approval to a bill that imposes tougher restrictions [JURIST report] on obtaining a license to buy a firearm and bans certain types of rifles. Also last month Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed [JURIST report] a comprehensive gun control bill into law, placing new limits on the sale of firearms. In March Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed [JURIST report] three bills mandating background checks for gun transfers and prohibiting the sale of large magazines. In January President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures.