(KTVI) Guns from cities across the United States are ending up in the St. Louis area. And while it might sound unusual, police are pleased.
“The departments want to get rid of them,” Scott Reed, Vice-President of Gunbusters said.
Gunbusters is exactly what the name implies. Pulverization. Destruction.
“[We] take the full guns, operate them through our machine, and then you get them fully destroyed. You pulverize the entire gun,” Reed said.
It takes about eight to 10 seconds to pulverize a handgun, Reed said, and up to 30 seconds for a rifle.
The St. Louis-based business destroys approximately 2,000 guns a year. Reed said the company services about 20 different agencies in the metropolitan area.
“The reason we use them is the documentation piece,” Chesterfield Captain Steven Lewis said.
“The ability to say with 100% assurance, this is the weapon that was taken here, this is the weapon that was taken into this machine. And this is the weapon that was destroyed.”
Lewis said guns are destroyed for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a court order has allowed for the destruction of a gun used in the commission of a crime. In other instances, citizens turn over guns out of safety concerns. The department has also received guns that, sadly, were used in suicides.
“There are a lot of reasons why people would not want guns to be in their household,” Lewis said.
Documentation sets Gunbusters apart from other businesses that destroy weapons. Each gun is destroyed individually, with video documentation as evidence.
“We record the serial number of the firearm. We record the case number that the agency provides. We record the agency it came from, and the full time and date of destruction,” Reed said. “So, if they give us 100 guns, they get back a DVD that has 100 videos on it – of each gun being destroyed.”
The scraps are recycled and sold, allowing the company to stay in business, Reed said.
Gunbusters also handles other items, including hard drives and knives.
Gunbusters does not accept guns or other weapons from private citizens. Citizens are encouraged to turn over any unclaimed or unwanted weapons to their local police department. That department, in turn, can transfer the item to Gunbusters.