Cit­i­zens, please do not give your guns to the po­lice

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State - EJ MONTINI ed.montini @ari­zonare­pub­ Tel: 602-444-8978

There was a time when Jonathan Pring’s de­ci­sion to turn over two guns to the Phoenix po­lice could have been a valid state­ment about gun vi­o­lence and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons in Amer­i­can and so on.

Not any­more.

That ended when the Ari­zona Supreme Court said cities must obey a state law deny­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to de­stroy con­fis­cated weapons.

There was a time when a num­ber of Ari­zona cities held events in which weapons were turned in to be de­stroyed.

Like­wise, there were cities that rou­tinely de­stroyed con­fis­cated weapons. Tuc­son held on to this prac­tice the long­est. Chal­leng­ing the state law in court. And los­ing.

The Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture, be­liev­ing there can­not be enough firearms on the street, passed a law for­bid­ding the de­struc­tion of weapons and re­quir­ing cities to, es­sen­tially, turn the firearms in to gun deal­ers and sell them.

Law­mak­ers tried to pre­tend this has some­thing to do with eco­nom­ics, but it was only proof pos­i­tive of just how much power the gun lobby wields over the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture.

It is to­tal and com­plete.

Pring got some at­ten­tion from the lo­cal me­dia for con­tact­ing the po­lice and turn­ing over two firearms fol­low­ing the mass shoot­ing in Las Ve­gas.

He said, “Who doesn’t love Las Ve­gas? I couldn’t sleep last night. I was watch­ing news and on Face­book and see­ing lots of dif­fer­ent posts ... and I was just mad ... I thought, ‘You know what, I’m go­ing to do some­thing.’ ”

He was hop­ing to set an ex­am­ple for others.

It was a nice thought. Gen­uine. All he did, how­ever, was re­cir­cu­late the weapons. To where we do not know.

If Pring had sim­ply held on to the guns, locked them up, stored them, had them de­stroyed, what­ever, noth­ing bad could have been done with them.

He could have done that qui­etly, with no pub­lic fan­fare. But he wanted to make a point. And that’s fine. But now his weapons will go up for sale and af­ter that …?

Even worse, once the story of Pring’s de­ci­sion was made pub­lic, he was ha­rassed by gun nuts.

I’m not sure what these id­iots were think­ing. Rather than go­ing on­line to threaten or ha­rass Pring they could merely have pointed out that Pring’s weapons will go back into cir­cu­la­tion. And per­haps wind up in their hands.

In a Face­book post, Pring ini­tially said, “I hope my ac­tions in­spire others. If we can achieve a safer world for our chil­dren, we will have done a good thing.”

It was a hon­est ef­fort. But, wrong. Do not fol­low his ex­am­ple. As it is, some lucky gun en­thu­si­ast will soon be get­ting a pretty good deal on Pring’s Walther PK380 and Ruger 10/22 tac­ti­cal ri­fle. Hope­fully, the new owner or own­ers will be law-abid­ing, trust­wor­thy and re­spon­si­ble..

Like Pring. Hope­fully.

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