Into the jaws of the alligator

photos by Jonathan Welch

The scene would have brought a gun fanatic to tears. A vanload of firearms—469 assorted handguns and long guns weighing more than 700 pounds—was fed piece by piece into the alligator shears at Biltmore Iron and Metal Co. on Aug. 24 at the behest of the Asheville Police Department. APD officers seize several guns per week, according to Capt. Daryl Fisher, and once no longer needed, the weapons are periodically destroyed to free up space for incoming property and evidence. Once the weapons have been reduced to metal shards and splintered wood, the scraps are buried at the landfill.

As each gun crunched in the metal-chopping jaws, an untold story came to an end. Most of the seized weapons were standard fare, explained Evidence Section Manager Lee Smith, though a handful looked more sinister than average hunting equipment. “This is an assault rifle,” he noted, displaying a long, black SKS spattered with orange spray paint. Later, an Uzi was spotted in the mix.

At press time, 600 handguns and 200 long guns remained with the APD’s Property/Evidence Unit, pending adjudication.

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