Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Council Member Steve Kozachik, Special to the Arizona Daily Star
Since the recent shootings in Connecticut, cities across the nation have resumed community conversations about the causes and measures that may be taken to prevent these sorts of senseless acts. Tucson is uniquely positioned to engage in such a conversation, especially during the month of January, as we remember our own tragic incident.
There is no single cause or solution to these shootings. We must have open conversations about how we treat the mentally ill, the impact of pharmaceuticals on our youth, involuntary psychiatric evaluations and cultural issues such as the impact of violent video games. All of that must be open for conversation.
We must also have the honest resolve to address the part that firearms and oversized magazines play in these tragedies. We can do that in ways that do not minimize the importance of the Second Amendment.
Certainly we can all agree that people who are either not trained in the safe use of firearms, or people who are not comfortable having them in their homes should be provided an avenue for turning them in to the proper authorities and taking them out of circulation.
That is exactly what gun-buyback programs have achieved in other jurisdictions, and it is what is intended with the event being planned in Tucson. The intent of the Tucson Gun Buyback program is simple: make homes safer by allowing people to voluntarily turn over their unwanted weapons to the police for proper disposal. Tucson police will follow all protocols appropriate under state law.
And in the process, residents will be given a means by which to make decisions related to gun ownership in their own homes. Just as gun ownership is a fundamental right under the Second Amendment, so is the right to refrain from ownership when that is an individual’s choice.
We will certainly have opportunities to address all facets of this issue in the days ahead. We are joined by the Tucson Police Department in welcoming your voluntary participation in the Gun Buyback program if that is a decision you wish to make on behalf of your household.