RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — Nearly 5,000 weapons seized or collected by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have been destroyed in the agency’s annual gun melt.

The handguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons were hauled to a steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday and dumped into a steel mill’s furnace.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell says the metal will be made into reinforcing bars for use in construction.

The weapons were collected in criminal investigations, probation seizures and from citizens at gun collection events.

The Sheriff’s Department says that with this year’s gun melt, the department has destroyed about 165,000 firearms over the past 24 years.