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Police destroy 100+ guns in Petersburg: ‘This may be a small step’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- More than 100 guns that were taken off of the streets of Petersburg were destroyed by the order of the police chief on Wednesday.

"I'm not destroying firearms because it's popular or anything," Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller pointed out. "These are illegal guns that were taken off streets."

With just nine months on the job, Miller was adamant about his decision to have the guns destroyed and not sold "to put these weapons back on the street for gain."

"We're not going to take weapons of destruction and try to make a profit off of that," Miller said.

One of the destroyed guns.

One of the destroyed guns.

The weapons had been stored in the departments evidence room, but not all of the guns were able to be linked to a crime.

"When people start turning in firearms at the request of the police, they don't want them anymore or we're getting illegal firearms through tips, information being provided by the public," Miller said.

The machine used to destroy the guns made it impossible for them ever to be used again.

"The barrel, the trigger mechanism, the magazine that were in them, we're keeping them intact and destroying them that way," Miller said.

 Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller

Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller

The more than 100 firearms destroyed ranged from revolvers to a derringer, semi-automatics to a gun with a suppressor attached to the barrel, to about a dozen long guns.

Miller said he fully supports legal gun owners, but could not in good faith allow the confiscated weapons to go back on the streets.

Some people who live in Petersburg said they were relieved by the decision.

"I agree with it, I mean there's too much crime on the street, too much shooting going on," William Johnson said.

Others who said they support the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms also supported the chief's decision

"I have a 22-year-old and I fear for his life everyday and I, with all the murders going on in Petersburg, I think it was a great idea," Tamara Hawkins said.

Tony Gaines, another supporter of the Second Amendment, also thinks the move was a positive one for the community.

"We're having too many shootings and something needs to be done about it," Gaines said. "This may be a small step by the police chief to get the guns off the street, but at least he's doing something, something positive."

When the process was completed, the debris from the firearms weighed in at 300 pounds.

The debris

The debris