An Arizona House panel has passed a bill banning cities and counties from destroying guns turned in at buy-back programs designed to give people a safe place to get rid of unwanted weapons.

The bill passed committee Wednesday despite opposition from committee Democrats and testimony from Democratic 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 has gotten 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.

Tucson conducted a buy-back program in January and took in more than 200 guns.