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WKSU is looking for the answers to the questions you have about Ohio in a project we call "OH Really?" It's an initiative that makes you part of the news gathering process.

Listener Asks OH Really?, 'What Happens After Akron Police Seize a Firearm?'

The Akron Police Department has confiscated 469 guns so far this year, an increase of 20 percent. A listener asked our OH Really? team, what happens to all those firearms?

Terri Johnson, from Akron, was curious after hearing that some departments can auction off seized firearms.

In Akron, most of the guns they seize are pistols confiscated during an arrest. Sometimes people turn in weapons during countywide gun buyback events, but Patrol Operations Captain David Laughlin said, “a lot of the guns that are turned in are old guns, guns that don’t function. We don’t really see a lot of weapons that would be used to commit crimes taken off the streets.”

No matter how they get them, once a firearm is in their hands, police use the serial number and ballistics to establish ownership and also check if the gun may have been used in other crimes. Eventually, after a gun has been used as evidence and the legal process is finished, a judge may order it destroyed.

“Ultimately, when it comes down to the guns actually being destroyed, we have a barrel that the guns are in. It’s a completely sealed barrel. We have a contract with a private company, and they are incinerated [and] melted down,” Laughlin said.

He said the department has already destroyed 313 guns so far this year. He added that Akron police are never allowed to re-sell or auction a seized firearm, even if it has historical value.

Capt. David Laughlin on gun registration

Editor's note: This story has been updated. 

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.