NEW YORK (WABC) --The NYPD has a new strategy to keep illegal guns that have been seized or surrendered from ending up back on the streets.
Chief of Department Carlos Gomez says 3,000 guns seized by police will be destroyed this week at an undisclosed location out of state, though it does not include any that were involved in homicides. But while it may seem sensible and rational to many in New York, others believe it to be quite radical.
"It gets melted down, and the metal is recycled," Gomez said. "Each firearm, to me, represents a potential victim."
But the National Rifle Association has protested the plan, saying the guns should be sold like any other confiscated asset.
"Firearms should be treated the same as boats, jewelry, or any other confiscated asset and sold at auction," an NRA spokesperson said. "Most departments are strapped for funds as it is, to cut off the potential cash flow for the sake of making some social commentary is short sighted at best."
But the NYPD does not see the guns as an asset.
"Why on earth would we do that?" Commissioner James O'Neill said. "We went to a lot of hard work to get these guns off the street. This is the end of the iron pipeline."
The term iron pipeline refers to Interstate 95, which authorities say is how many so many illegal guns come to the northeast. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that from 2010 to 2015, 90 percent of the handguns used in crimes came from six states along I-95 with more relaxed gun laws.
O'Neill said selling the guns will not happen, and he broke down the contents of the pile that was on display Wednesday morning.
"Up here, we have 1,995 handguns, 426 long guns -- those are rifles and shotguns," he said. "And out of that, the handgun breakdown is 1,158 were used in felonies, 12 in misdemeanors, 223 were investigatory, and 485 were from gun amnesty."
The NYPD is unlike many states in which the law dictates that seized guns must be sold.