NORWALK - Hoping to prevent violent crimes committed with stolen firearms, the local station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department wants residents to turn in unwanted guns so they can be destroyed in an annual gun melt.

Residents will not be held responsible if the gun is stolen or has serial numbers altered or removed, said Capt. Patrick Maxwell of the Norwalk Sheriff's Station.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 15, sheriff's deputies responded to 29 residential burglaries with 72 guns stolen, Maxwell said.

"It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out a lot of these firearms will be used in future violent crimes or sold to another crook," Maxwell said.

"My goal is to get these guns off the streets."

Some of those guns might have been unwanted. Residents can have unwanted guns in their homes for a variety of reasons - the gun owner died, went to prison or moved out, Maxwell said.

The guns can be relinquished in two ways:

• Residents in Norwalk, La Mirada and unincorporated Whittier can call the Norwalk sheriff's station and a deputy will go to the home and retrieve it;

• Or, gun owners can bring the weapon - locked in the trunk - to the sheriff's station and tell deputies a gun is in the trunk for the gun melt. The deputy will retrieve the gun from the trunk, Maxwell said.

The weapons will be melted down at Rancho Cucamonga's Gerdau Steel Mill.


Advertisement

Last year, more than 8,000 weapons collected by 20 law enforcement agencies were melted.

The guns are converted into steel reinforcing bar for upgrades in freeways and bridges in California, Arizona and Nevada, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

phillip.zonkel@presstelegram.com

562-499-1258

twitter.com/zonkelpt