Throughout the year, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, LAPD officers, and other police officers conduct evens where the public can turn in firearms in a “no questions asked” exchange for a reward – often a gift card to a grocery store. Dubbed the “Gifts for Guns” program, these events are designed to get as many guns off the street as possible in an attempt to make their acquisition more difficult for criminals.

The culmination of these trade-ins is the annual “Gun Melt” event in which the weapons are melted down into steel rebar, which in turn will be used in various building projects across the county. The Gerdau Steel Mill in Rancho Cucamonga donated its furnace, as well as the manpower, to melt down and destroy the firearms. According to LASD spokeswoman Nicole Nishida, over 178,000 weapons have been destroyed over the 21 years the “Gun Melt” has been operating.

While it’s nice to know that law enforcement is actively trying to reduce the number of guns on the street, detractors of the event have their own opposing opinions. One opposing belief is that, instead of melting the guns down, they should instead be resold legally, and the revenue used to promote gun safety in the community – according to Sam Paredes with the Gun Owners of California.

Either way, firearms are being taken off the street and raw building materials are being created which will help bolster the county’s infrastructure – and that’s never a bad thing.