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PHOENIX -- An Arizona House panel has passed a bill banning cities and counties from destroying guns turned in at buy-back programs.

The programs were designed to give people a safe place to get rid of unwanted weapons.

The bill passed committee Wednesday despite opposition from Democrats and testimony from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. She said people who turn guns in at the events want them destroyed so they can't be used to hurt someone.

Public Safety committee chairman Justin Pierce said he's been getting thousands of emails from constituents who want the practice banned.

The Mesa Republican argued the government shouldn't be destroying public property.

A bill requiring sales of seized weapons was enacted last year, but cities including Tucson have argued it doesn't apply to buy-back programs.

Associated Press,

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