By Brad Edwards

(CBS) — Five thousand illegal guns already are off Chicago’s streets this year. A record number as shooting victims are down.

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For months, CBS 2 has asked Chicago Police Department brass to see those guns. Reporter Brad Edwards takes you inside the rarely seen gun vault.

Deep within the bowels of the old Sears Roebuck catalog factory, criminal instruments in shopping carts are ready to be checked out and cataloged.

Welcome to the vault. Eighty thousand guns. Some are decades old; any gun used in a murder stays forever.

To date, the Chicago police have seized 5,095 guns in the first 37 weeks of 2013.

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“We seize nine guns for every one that the NYPD seizes,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says.

“That’s not success that we’re talking about,” he adds. “We’re talking about the fact that they shouldn’t be here in the first place and when we arrest those people — they don’t go to jail.”

It’s part of McCarthy’s legislative push.

“The alleged killer of Hadiya Pendleton should have been incarcerated for illegal possession of a firearm when he killed her,” he says.

So, what happens with all the guns? Some, like those turned in, are shredded, melted broken, not re-sold for profit — a practice by other police agencies.

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A lieutenant said, “The cost of a human life isn’t worth the few bucks we could make.”

Brad Edwards