Editor’s note: This story corrects the type of furnace used to destroy the guns. WKBN regrets the error.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Guns seized by the city police department dating back to 1993 met their maker Thursday: the electric arc furnace at Vallourec Steel.
The guns — most of them long guns — were destroyed after a judge issued a judgment entry approving their destruction.
Lt. Mohammad Awad of the Detective Bureau, who was in charge of carrying out the gun burn, said some of the guns were used in crimes or suicides.
Others are illegal — such as sawed-off shotguns or guns modified to fire illegally. And still others are inoperable or given to police by people who no longer want them.
Awad said over 300 guns were picked for destruction. He estimated it took hundreds of hours collectively to go through the process of getting the guns destroyed because paperwork has to be done to submit each individual gun to a judge to get the approval to get it destroyed.
The department must also secure large crates and a rental to transport them then arrange a date with Vallourec, Awad said.
“Everything adds up,” Awad said. “We make arrested out there. We will our evidence rooms with guns and once in a while we need to make space for the next year’s arrests, so we need to empty out our evidence room.”
The department tries to destroy guns every couple of years, but they have not been able to for a while because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not all guns seized by police are destroyed. Some are given back to their owners if they were stolen or used in criminal activity.