“Guns to Gardens” buyback event transforms discarded firearms into gardening tools

“Guns to Gardens” buyback event transforms discarded firearms into gardening tools

The New Haven Law enforcement Department partnered with nonprofit firm Swords to Plowshares Northeast to host the biannual gun buyback party soon after being vetted, guns gathered will be wielded into gardening instruments and distributed to local community gardeners

Molly Reinmann

12:58 am, Dec 05, 2022

Contributing Reporter

Courtesy of Jim Curry

Partners at the New Haven Police Section and Swords to Plowshares Northeast started the system of reworking unwelcome guns from “life taking to everyday living making” at a Saturday occasion. 

In honor of Countrywide Gun Buyback Day, the two organizations hosted the Elm City’s biannual Guns to Gardens gun buyback occasion. At the celebration, gun owners could dispose of unwelcome firearms safely and anonymously in trade for cash. Just after being vetted by the NHPD, the weapons ended up then specified to the Swords to Plowshares group, who will repurpose them into gardening applications and donate them to agricultural groups and organizations in the town.

“The gun buyback is a technique of collecting guns from customers of the community who desire to surrender them,” stated NHPD Lieutenant Jason Rentkowicz. “A ton of situations, even if there is no felony intent, guns can however tumble into the wrong hands, and there can nevertheless be accidents, there can continue to be suicides. This is an uncomplicated way to properly get rid of firearms, and it is no queries requested and it is nameless.”

According to Rentkowicz, upwards of 40 guns were purchased back again by the NHPD at this weekend’s Guns to Gardens function, which took put at the New Haven Law enforcement Training Academy. These guns incorporated a mix of assault rifles and handguns. 

In addition to exchanging undesirable firearms for money, citizens can also entry totally free gun locks at buyback activities.

Following their buy, Rentkowicz explained, these guns will be thoroughly vetted by the law enforcement section to make confident that they experienced not been formerly utilised in criminal action. Then, the discarded firearms will be sent off to the Swords to Plowshares Northeast workforce, who will start out the procedure of converting them into gardening instruments.

“Typically, weapons that are surrendered would be wrecked,” Rentkowicz mentioned. “But with Swords to Plowshares, as an alternative of just scrapping them, they make a thing beneficial out of them. So they use the steel to make gardening resources, and it’s symbolic that anything that could be violent is becoming turned into some thing that is helpful and joyful.”

Bishop Jim Curry — co-founder of Swords to Plowshares Northeast — defined that just after the discarded firearms are re-fabricated into yard applications, they are presented back again to the New Haven local community. The backyard tools are donated to educational facilities, local community gardens, church teams, youth empowerment teams and violence interruption courses throughout the town.

The partnership amongst the New Haven Police Division and Swords to Plowshares Northeast began in 2017. For the earlier 5 yrs, the two groups have worked together to host biannual gun buybacks in the metropolis.

“We’re seriously just about encouraging individuals to be responsible gun entrepreneurs,” said Pina Violano, co-founder of Swords to Plowshares. “If you no extended require [your gun] or you no lengthier can secure it, we have a safe venue for you to produce it or entry resources to store it securely.”

Violano claimed that 10 per cent of folks who have turned in firearms at buyback events this yr have utilised that unique weapon to attempt suicide. She extra that attendees of the occasions generally vacation up to 70 miles to trade previous guns.

This year’s Guns to Gardens occasion is of distinctive importance, Violano mentioned, mainly because it marks the 10-yr anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary Faculty taking pictures.

“We’ve kind of appear total circle now,” Violano said. “Looking at all of the bad issues that have took place mainly because of guns, primarily in our individual condition. It is a accurate transformation.”

At most buyback situations, Curry and Violano stated, there is also a demonstration of how the guns are reworked. Attendees are invited to just take component in the demonstration, much too. They can get the job done with the Swords to Plowshares crew to use the forge and pound the recycled metal into gardening applications.

“We specially invite individuals who have been victims of or traumatized by gun violence to come to the forge and to take power and pound these weapons into gardening equipment,” Curry claimed. “We also make jewelry, and we invite individuals to make coronary heart formed charms whenever we have a public demonstration”

Swords to Plowshares is a part of a much larger umbrella group referred to as Guns to Gardens, Curry claimed. Guns to Gardens is a countrywide motion focused on reworking guns gathered at buybacks across the region. So considerably, the initiative has achieved 30 states, with buybacks going on a short while ago in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

Eventually, Violano stated, the gatherings are about endorsing harmless gun possession and making something effective with weapons.

“With these buybacks we hope to tell a story,” he reported. “We want to share a statement of hope that weapons of harm can be altered into equipment of nurture, peace and progress.”

In 2021, firearms induced about 47,286 murder and suicide deaths in the United States.