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Tucson police officers catalog a gun outside a police station in Tucson, Ariz. Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 during Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik's gun buyback program, asking people to turn in their guns for a $50 gift certificate to a grocery store. Tuesday marked the second anniversary of when a gunman opened fire on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents in 2011, killing six people and leaving 12 others injured. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)
Officials talk guns, hold buybacks after shootings

First Published Jan 08 2013 07:16 pm • Last Updated Jan 08 2013 07:16 pm

The national gun debate swelled Tuesday as Arizona and the country commemorated the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago that killed six people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords injured — an anniversary that came on the heels of the mass killing at a Connecticut elementary school. Here’s how some state and local leaders are taking action:

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ARIZONA • Giffords and her husband on Tuesday launched a political action committee aimed at curbing gun violence, while two politicians on opposite ends of the gun debate held dueling weapons buybacks outside a Tucson police station.

In Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has said he plans to post armed volunteers on school perimeters to protect Phoenix-area students.

His plan, announced last month, came after two other Arizona officials released ideas for boosting school security: Attorney General Tom Horne proposed firearms training for one person in each school, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu proposed training multiple educators per school to carry guns.

NEW YORK • Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will make gun control a major part of his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he will set his 2013 legislative agenda. He insists on a new ban on assault rifles, which he said must close loopholes in state law, and a ban on high-capacity clips for ammunition.

Tense, closed-door talks among legislative leaders continue. Republicans also seek to crack down on illegal guns and want longer court-ordered mental health treatment for individuals who won’t seek help, but are deemed to be a safety threat.

ILLINOIS • The state’s attorney general on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to review a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on concealed carry in an effort to salvage the only law in the nation that makes the practice entirely illegal.


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Last month, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Illinois ban as unconstitutional and gave lawmakers 180 days to write a law legalizing it. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking that all 10 judges on the court rehear the case.

CONNECTICUT • U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced Tuesday he plans to introduce federal legislation that would require instant background checks for purchasers of ammunition.

It is now illegal to sell firearms and ammunition to certain groups, including felons and the mentally ill. But background checks, Blumenthal said, are required only for the sale of firearms, not the bullets.

WASHINGTON • Seattle police and political leaders on Tuesday announced a new gun buyback program in which people can anonymously turn in their weapons for a shopping gift card worth up to $200.

Amazon.com, which has been expanding its Seattle headquarters, kicked in $30,000 in Amazon gift cards for the program — $100 for each handgun, rifle or shotgun turned in, and $200 for each gun classified as an assault weapon under state law.

Other donors also pitched in for a total of more than $100,000, the mayor’s office said.

UTAH • A Spring City councilman wants all residents in the small town to be armed against possible aggressors.

Councilman Neil Sorensen says he’s drafting a measure that would recommend that a gun be in every household in the town of 1,000, about 90 miles south of Salt Lake City. The measure will go before the full council in February.

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