Columbus Police Seized Record Number Of Guns In 2017
The Columbus Division of Police seized 2,750 firearms last year, setting a new department record.
The previous record was 2,667 guns in 2012. Of the guns seized last year, 365 had been reported as stolen.
Public information unit Sergeant Dean Worthington says police can't be entirely sure what's behind the increase in gun seizures, but that the opioid crisis is probably a factor.
"Because we’ve seen an increase of opioid use here in the city over the past couple of years, with drugs do come weapons and the increase in arrest," Worthington says. "So then what you’re gonna see is a correlation between drug arrests and weapons arrests."
Worthington says a myriad of factors are probably contributing to the increase in gun seizures, and that the correlation between drug and gun arrests is just one.
"When our narcotics guys go out there and execute search warrants during these raids, they will often find guns in these drug houses," Worthington says. "So that’s another thing we can point to that may be contributing to the increase."
Columbus Police run all functional guns through ballistic testing to determine whether the guns match any ballistics on file.
If the gun was used in a crime, it is held for evidence until the case is closed. Then the gun is returned to its rightful owner or destroyed. All other guns, whether found, turned-in or surrendered are also either returned to their rightful owner or destroyed.