First, they're stored as evidence until disposition of each criminal case in question. Then, once they're no longer needed it's up to each department to decidewhat to do with them.
You'd think with all the white hot heat surrounding gun control in this country we'd have a uniform policy on this. We don't. The FBI referred me to the Bureau of AlcoholTobacco and Firearms where I got nowhere. The National Association of Police Chiefs had no answer either. No guidance, no policy.
It used to be that police departments along America's coastline, fromCalifornia to New York and down to Florida, would dump these guns into watery graves far out into the ocean creating artificial reefs of rusting revolvers and rifles. Sometimes financially strappeddepartments kept the firearms for their SWAT Team's use or traded them with neighboring law enforcement agencies. Other departments have been known to auction off confiscated guns or sell them toregistered dealers for much needed cash. That, of course, puts the guns back on the street again.
So, more and more these days guns seized from those who aren't supposed to have them, or those weaponsturned in during 'No Questions Asked' neighborhood collection and buy-back drives, are being destroyed. They're literally shredded in huge metal chomping machines called 'alligators' with a jaw powerof 200 tons of cutting force. The weapons are pulverized into small pieces of scrap metal and sold for about 25 cents a pound.
There are other places these guns are sent to die. At foundries andsmelters across America armed police guards are arriving with tens of thousands of pounds of confiscated weapons and they stand by to make sure they are completely destroyed. The guns are subjected totemperatures of more than 3000 degrees for as long as it takes to make them liquid again.
This death sentence for guns means life for more practical items. Some of the melted metal is used to make...