Allegheny County DA collects, destroys 700 guns from police evidence rooms |

Allegheny County DA collects, destroys 700 guns from police evidence rooms

Natasha Lindstrom
Courtesy of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office collected more than 700 firearms no longer needed to be kept in the evidence rooms of 17 police departments during an annual gun take-back event on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

About 700 guns that had been gathering dust in evidence rooms across Allegheny County were rounded up and ground to pieces this week.

The District Attorney’s Office collected the firearms Monday from local police departments that no longer need them.

It’s an annual turn-in event, and the total number collected this year was slightly above the typical amount, District Attorney’s spokesman Mike Manko said.

The guns were turned in by 18 departments, including police from the South Hills, North Hills, Shaler and the city of Pittsburgh as well as the eastern suburbs of Elizabeth, Penn Hills, Monroeville and Turtle Creek.

Pittsburgh Public Schools police also submitted guns for destruction, as did county police, the sheriff’s office and Port Authority police.

The guns may be no longer needed because the court case they’re tied to has ended, Manko said.

Some guns get turned in to police by family members after the owner dies.

Other guns may turn out to have no connection to any active case, such as weapons found in abandoned houses or left behind by renters.

Departments also will turn in guns for which they cannot track down an owner, or the owner doesn’t want a gun back.

Per state law, police departments “do not submit these weapons for destruction until they have exhausted all efforts to locate the rightful owner,” Manko said.

Whether a department participates in a turn-in event depends on what’s in their evidence room at the time of collection.

The DA’s Office thanked Scott Township for permitting the use of Scott Park to collect the guns.

Following Monday’s collection, officials immediately took the 700 guns to Tube City recycling center in West Mifflin, where the guns were put “through the grinder and destroyed,” Manko said.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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