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What Happens To Guns Seized In Boston?

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Almost every day, Boston Police seize illegal guns from the street. What happens to those guns? WBZ-TV was invited to the Schnitzer Steels Everett Facility to find out.

Boston Police brought a truck full of 353 guns to the recycling facility. There they loaded them into a mini-van that was ready to be destroyed.

Liam McDermott, the General Manager of Schnitzer Steel’s Everett facility, explained, “We use a mini-van so we can keep all the material nice and tight when it goes into the shredder. Everything gets shredded all at the same time.”

The mini-van was lifted onto a conveyor belt, and then dumped into a massive shredder. In just seconds, the van and the guns are all shredded into thousands of pieces.

Guns being destroyed at Everett facility. (WBZ-TV)

Guns being destroyed at Everett facility. (WBZ-TV)

McDermott says they separate the material with magnets, and then ship it overseas. “It will be loaded into a ship in bulk will go overseas to a steel mill where it will be melted down into blocks and rolled into steel.” He says it can eventually be anything from re-bar to a part of an automobile.

The guns are only destroyed after they have been extensively tested by the Boston Police Ballistics Unit to see if it is linked to any crime. Thomas D’Ambrosio, the Director Physical Comparison Unit, says “Every gun tells a story. It holds a lot of information.”

They test for fingerprints, and gather information from the exterior and interior of the gun. Examiners test fire the guns, and study the cartridge casing and the bullets for patterns. They then can compare the patterns with a national database to see if the gun is linked to any other investigations.

It’s personal for Commissioner William Evans. “Every gun off the street is one less gun that can get in the wrong hands. We’ve seen that two weeks ago with the young nine year old getting shot.”

He says they’re looking for cooperation from residents. If residents have a gun in their home, they can call Boston Police to come pick it up or turn the gun in, with no questions asked.

This year Boston Police have already taken 72 guns out of circulation. So far they have outpaced last year, when they seized a total of 667 guns. “We want the city to be as safe as it can and a big part of our plan is to try to get as many guns off the street as we possibly can.”

There is admiration, and shared pride among those who work at Schnitzer and are helping out. “I’m proud to be able to provide a service to the community to the City of Boston and surrounding areas to keep these weapons off the street,” McDermott says.

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