Police destroy hundreds of guns, rifles ‘so they don’t fall into the hands of criminals’

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CLEVELAND-- A van full of guns. More than two hundred revolvers and semi-automatic handguns, along with long rifles, shot guns and even AK-47.

Some were junk; others, if they were loaded, were just as deadly as the day they were made.

All of them unwanted.

And police say all had the potential to be stolen and wind up pointed at an innocent person.

“People are allowed under the second amendment to own guns in this country. They have to ensure these weapons are secure when they have them," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference at the Arcelor Mittal Steel Plant on Friday.

Just about every major urban area in the country has seen an increase in gun violence and the Cleveland area is no exception.

Authorities say most  of the guns used in crimes were stolen.

And a lot of those thefts occur because weapons are not secured or simply forgotten about in homes.

“These gun buyback programs take guns out of the hands of people who don't want guns and out of the hands of someone who may break into somebody's houses,"  Mayor Frank Jackson said.

With temperatures of well over 24 hundred degrees Fahrenheit the wood  burns in seconds and the metal works started  melting after the guns were unceremoniously  tossed into a vat of molten steel.

For police officers doing the work they said it actually felt good knowing that this is the end of something that could threaten the community.

“So they don't fall into the hands of criminals and end up used in a shooting where a child gets their hands on a gun and there's an accidental discharge and there's an unfortunate injury or death," said Charles Lane of the Cleveland Police Foundation.

The city says it will do another gun buyback hopefully this spring.

Although they admit it is making only a small dent in the number of illegal guns out there the thing authorities say to remember is that every illegal gun in the hands of a criminal probably started out as a legal gun owned by someone who never dreamed of where it would wind up.

City police also used this event to do some house cleaning.

They destroyed old Kevlar tactical gear along with hundreds of knives taken by officers.