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Weapons from Miami police, recently arrived in Ukraine

Miami Police Give Rifles and Pistols to Ukraine

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The Miami Police Department this week gave a trove of civilian rifles and pistols to Ukraine, after obtaining the weapons during a gun buy-back.

The shipment comes in the wake of a move by the city of Phoenix, Arizona, to give confiscated weapons to Ukraine.

READ MORE: City of Phoenix Will Give 600 Unclaimed Firearms to Ukraine

The Florida guns include 82 rifles, 20 pistols, and 148,000 rounds of ammunition, according to Ukrainian politician Maryan Zablotskiy.

The donation is “the first case in history of the transfer of small arms confiscated in the United States took place,” according to Zablotskiy, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and founder of the Ukrainian Arsenal of Liberty.

A weapon that Miami Police gave to Ukraine.

The group describes itself as a charity set up with the purpose of acquiring weapons for Ukraine.

“The small arms weapons are now ready to be used by Ukraine against the invading Russian army,” the British Armed Forces wrote in an announcement.

The City of Miami set up its Guns4Ukraine voluntary gun buy-back last summer. Citizens were offered $50 per handgun, and $100 for rifles and shotguns. Rifles like the AR-15 and the AK-47 were ‘bought back’ for $150.

“We were able to get 68 weapons and firearms off the street,” Miami Police Chief Manny Morales said during the buyback in June 2022.

“Any weapon we collected will not fall into the wrong hands,” Morales said. He did not specify how he knows that the weapons will remain in the proper hands, nor what those are.

Twitter users gave mixed reactions to the buy-back. Some praised the effort, while others questioned the process.

“Wait, so you’re encouraging Americans to disarm and then sending the guns to the Ukraine?” wrote one user, “SomeGuyRoddy,” on Twitter.

The Miami donation parallels a recent announcement from the city of Phoenix that it will give about 600 civilian firearms to Ukraine. The city seized the weapons after saying they were unclaimed by their owners.

The weapons will be transferred to the National Police of Ukraine, according to an agenda item for the June 28 meeting of the Phoenix City Council. The firearms are worth $200,000, officials noted, and include 9mm, 45mm, 39mm, and 12 gauge guns and shotguns. They will be sent to Ukraine through Gruelle, a Pennsylvania-based logistics company that has sent supplies and humanitarian relief to countries around the globe. 

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“Gruelle will transfer to the National Police of Ukraine,” the city wrote in a June 28 notice. “Only 9mm, 45mm, 39mm and 12 gauge firearms will be sent. 

“Firearms are unclaimed when there has been no owner contact after a thirty day notice, in which case the city can dispose of them.”

Arizona’s Republican state Rep. Quang Nguyen says that the donation violates state law. 

Nguyen, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter along with committee vice chair and fellow Republican Selina Bliss citing a state statute that says unclaimed firearms must be sold to a business authorized to receive and dispose of weapons.

“Arizona does not allow cities to regulate the disposal of unclaimed firearms. That is a state matter and they are doing it on their own,” Nguyen said. 

With reporting from British Armed Forces.

About Susan Katz Keating

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