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Fahrenheit 3100: The Temperature at Which Guns Burn

What’s going to happen to the guns collected by the Seattle Police Department and King County in the Great Gun Buyback later this month? In true Seattle fashion, they’ll be recycled.

For years, the department has partnered with Nucor Steel to turn guns from SPD’s evidence unit into molten metal.

During the department’s last semi-annual “gun burn” in September, members of SPD’s evidence unit boxed up 168 rifles and handguns—along with a few knives, BB guns, license plates, and computer hard drives—and headed to the Nucor plant in West Seattle.

The guns were all either from closed investigations and court cases, or were turned into SPD by owners who no longer wanted them.

After the convoy of police arrives at the Nucor plant, the guns are loaded into a big metal scoop:

Under the watchful eyes of officers, the scoop carries the guns over to A 3100-DEGREE CAULDRON OF FIRE.

And then…


About an hour later, Nucor turns that hot, hot steel into rebar…

…which can be used to build things like the 520 Bridge or Optimus Prime.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can turn your guns into gift cards, and ultimately giant beams of steel, click here for information on the Seattle Police Department/King County gun buyback program.
Photos by Shanna Christie