The Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Property and Evidence Bureau will destroy hundreds of firearms seized by the department by melting them into rebar Thursday.
The department has in possession a total of 501 firearms that have been collected over the years, including 305 handguns and 196 long guns.
Though the majority of the weapons were turned over by the public for destruction, some have been seized from individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms, used in suicides, or involved in criminal cases that have been settled.
According to Benjamin Laguna, the legal property technician for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, a variety of firearms will be destroyed, from revolvers and semi-automatic pistols to rifles and shotguns.
The majority of the weapons were seized from assault cases, though it is unclear whether or not the guns were directly involved in the case. By law, the officers are required to seize any weapon found in a search; if it is licensed and does not affect the case, it is released back to the owner after five days.
According to Sgt. Steven Mitchell, the property and evidence supervisor, there are 170,000 items of evidence such as guns, narcotics and vehicles, the department is holding.
The weapons put on display Wednesday will be melted down at a San Bernardino county steel mill and converted into reinforcing steel.
“This lets people know what happens to the firearms that we collect when they come into law enforcement hands,” said Mitchell. “If they’re not going back to their original owner, or used for a lawful purpose… then we destroy them and get them off the street.”