By Tamas Mondovics
HCSO’s Operation Gun Swap 2013, came to what deputies called a “fiery finish” last month as the department completed the collection and destruction of thousands of unwanted firearms turned in by residents throughout Hillsborough County.
HCSO detective, Christopher Rule, who in a recent video is seen narrating the end of the line for the close to 2,600 unwanted firearms during an effort held in February, said that the event was the nation’s largest single-day gun swap that came to a fiery finish at a nearby steel mill.
“The rifles, shotguns, and handguns were put into a large kettle mixed in with different types of scrap metal, melted down and incinerated in a 3,200-degree furnace,” Rule said, adding that the packaging, transport and destruction of the unwanted firearms was supervised by a team of HCSO detectives.
Rule mentioned too that the melted metal that was once weapons will become nails, rebar and coat hangers.
HCSO’s effort to get unwanted guns off the streets in Hillsborough County is an ongoing process, but according to HCSO Lieutenant, Chad Chronister, in the wake of the recent surge of headlines involving gun-related violence throughout the country, the time to host the buyback was as appropriate as any.
During the day-long event, deputies were on hand at five locations throughout the county and gave gun owners a $75 voucher along with two tickets to an upcoming Tampa Bay Rays game in the anonymous exchange for their guns.
“Since the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the department has been overwhelmed by phone calls and emails by residents who are interested in turning in their guns,” Chronister said during an earlier interview prior to the collection day.
To watch the firearms on their way to be melted down, please watch the video at http://www.youtube .com/watch?v =z7CaXOEeUNs
For more information about gun swap please visit, www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/ Articles/Articles/Operation-Gun-Swap.aspx.