MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Facebook friends of the Muskegon Heights Police Department may have noticed a number of posts in recent weeks about illegal guns recovered during traffic stops and some seized following tips to police.

Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph Thomas says the posts are to show the community efforts to remove illegal guns are ongoing.

"I'm not surprised at what can happen when the police and the people work together," Thomas said.

The recent push to collect illegal or in some cases unwanted guns from the community started with "Guns for Groceries" in May.

Community members gathered sponsors and worked with the Muskegon Heights Police on the no-questions-asked gun trade-in event where each gun turned over to police was worth a $100 gift card to Meijer.

Guns for Groceries collected 131 guns.

"To show opposition to what we're experiencing in our community," said Guns for Groceries organizer Kevin Cummings.

Thomas says Muskegon Heights officers have carried on that effort, and since June, have removed 27 illegally possessed guns.  

"We're on a roll," Thomas said. "We're making a dent in it."

Thomas says in some cases illegal guns can be tracked back to the legal owners who lost the guns to thieves and to break ins at gun stores.

Those that can't be tracked back to legal owners, and are no longer needed for court proceedings are put in a big machine and ground up under the supervision of Michigan State Police.

"If we can save one life, if we can stop one injury, stop one bullet from flying in the air, then we are somewhat successful," Thomas said.

A second Guns for Groceries event is expected in the summer of 2020.

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