Phoenix Council To Address Gun Accessory, Confederate Monuments

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 3:31pm

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Phoenix council members will have to address two hot topics on Wednesday, thanks to citizen petitions. One deals with a specific gun accessory, the other with monuments related to the Confederacy. KJZZ’s Christina Estes joins me now to discuss the petitions and Christina, it seems like this is something we’re seeing more often.

CHRISTINA ESTES: We are. This wave of citizen petitions started earlier this year when a man requested the council declare Phoenix a "sanctuary city." If a resident presents a citizen petition to the council, the city charter requires the council to act within 15 days.

In the case of the "sanctuary city" petition, the council denied the request to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city. I’ve also seen a petition asking the city to provide free transit passes for all school age children which staff says could cost millions a year. The transportation subcommittee recommended keeping the city’s existing half price fare program for students.

GOLDSTEIN: Let’s talk about the latest petitions: one is a request for Phoenix to ban what’s known as bump fire stocks. We heard a lot about bump fire stocks after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

ESTES: Guns found in the suspect’s hotel room had been modified with bump stocks. That allows semi automatic weapons to fire ammunition much faster, similar to the rate of automatic weapons. Bump stocks are currently legal, but there is bipartisan legislation in Congress to ban the accessories.

GOLDSTEIN: So what are the options for Phoenix leaders?

ESTES: They could accept the petition and pass an ordinance to limit or bans the sale of bump fire stocks in Phoenix but that would violate state law because Arizona prohibits cities from regulating firearm components. However, they could pass a resolution to encourage the state and federal government to limit or ban their sales. And, of course, another option is to deny the petition.

GOLDSTEIN: The second petition asks city leaders to get Gov. Doug Ducey to take action related to Confederate monuments and memorials

ESTES: The petition asks the city to call on the governor to use his powers to remove any Confederate symbols in the city. On the grounds of the state Capitol complex in Phoenix, there is a memorial to Arizona Confederate soldiers. The petition says Phoenix cannot claim to be an inclusive city if it does not fight against hatred.

GOLDSTEIN: In the past, Gov. Ducey has expressed no interest in removing Confederate monuments on state land. He’s said people should know our history. So what can the City Council do?

ESTES: They have three options: they can accept the petition and authorize a letter to the governor; they can deny the petition; or they can direct staff to take some other action.

GOLDSTEIN: KJZZ’s Christina Estes, thanks.

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