RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — Nearly 5,000 handguns, rifles and other weapons were destroyed Wednesday as part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s 21st annual Gun Melt event, authorities said.
KNX 1070’s Karen Harlow reports weapons that were confiscated in Los Angeles County and collected through the “Gift for Guns” program were melted into materials that will eventually help support the county’s infrastructure.
Interim Los Angeles County Sheriff John Scott and other law enforcement officials were on hand for the annual event at the Gerdau Steel Mill in Rancho Cucamonga, which donates its furnace, equipment and personnel to convert the weapons into steel rebar to be used in construction of freeways and bridges.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Nicole Nishida said since the program’s inception, over 178,000 weapons have been destroyed.
“All kinds of weapons, guns that have been altered, converted Mac-10s, we have knives, rifles, pistols, revolvers,” said Nishida.
In addition to the Sheriff’s Department, over 12 local law enforcement agencies have also contributed weapons for destruction, according to Nishida.
Despite the effort, however, gun rights advocates like Sam Paredes with Gun Owners of California called the effort a publicity stunt and said it was unlikely to have a significant impact on crime in LA County.
“Criminals will always be able to find guns anytime, anywhere they are,” said Paredes. “They’ll get whatever they want no matter what the laws say.”
Officials should instead sell the confiscated firearms on the legal gun market and use that revenue to promote gun safety in the community, Paredes added.