Kathryn Carley, Producer
Friday, June 9, 2023
Community volunteers in New Hampshire are turning unwanted firearms into garden tools as part of a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence.
Under state law, police cannot destroy guns coming into their possession. They have to either store them, use them, or sell them back to the public.
Nancy Brown, project coordinator for the group GunSense NH, said the “Guns to Gardens” program gives gun owners a chance to remove a firearm from circulation, and create something beautiful.
“‘And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,'” Brown quoted. “It’s a very old concept, but it’s one whose time has come to kind-of be revived, I think.”
The “Guns to Gardens” event is tomorrow in Concord at the Wesley United Methodist Church. Gun owners can bring their unwanted weapons to be turned into scrap metal and donated to be transformed into garden tools and other works of art. Volunteers said they hope to make it an annual event.
Research shows having a gun in the home is tied to a higher risk of fatal injury. In New Hampshire, 135 deaths involve firearms each year, and 90% of those gun deaths are suicides. Brown noted even the most responsible gun owners are at risk of harm.
“It’s really important to evaluate,” Brown recommended. “Is something that is actually going to keep me safer, or is this something that is going to make me and my family less safe?”
Brown pointed out gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S.
She stated she has already received calls from people who would like their firearms disabled and destroyed, adding the ownership of the weapon never changes and participation in the program can anonymous.
This story first appeared in Public News Service, a member-supported news site to engage, educate and advocate for the public interest.