Weapons being destroyed in Lincoln County due to shortage in evidence room

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by Ray Preston / News 4 and Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 6:35 PM

(KMOV.com) – A Lincoln County judge ordered over 150 rifles and pistols be destroyed.

Most of the weapons were used in a crime, and some of them have been held for over 15 years. But the sheriff’s department is having a hard time finding room for all the evidence.

A Chesterfield company that specializes in destroying weapons has pulverized some weapons into scrap metal. The sheriff’s office recently obtained a court order to destroy the guns in an attempt to help clean out the evidence room. In theory, some evidence must be held forever.

Overcrowded evidence rooms are a problem facing several law enforcement agencies. The O’Fallon Police Department said it is a problem they struggle with and said it was one of the reasons they turned to voters earlier this year for a new justice center. Departments said the evidence rooms are costly when it comes to providing security and maintenance of the facility.

Some residents wondered if the guns could have been auctioned off and have the profits go back to the department. Unfortunately, the move required it to be signed off by a county judge. Also, the department cannot profit from the sales of weapons.

All serial numbers were scratched off and the demolition had to meet ATF standards.

The sheriff’s office contacted every gun owner who had a legal right to reclaim their weapon. Lieutenant Binder with the sheriff’s office said some gun owners turned their right down and left it up to the department to destroy. 

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