Longmont Church event turns 66 guns into garden tools – Longmont Times-Call

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The herbs, flowers and vegetables that grow in the Longmont United Church of Christ community garden will be maintained by unique tools.

Forged from gun parts, a hand spade and a garden pickaxe were donated to the church on Saturday during a gun buyback event, when the parts for 66 guns were sold. been transformed into garden tools.

Pastors Amelia Richardson Dress, left, and Sara Verasco hold the gun parts that have been turned into garden tools. (Cliff Grassmick / Personal Photographer)

The redemption event, which took place at the Ninth Avenue Church, allowed people to trade unwanted guns for gift cards ranging from $ 100 to $ 300. RAW tools, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit, has helped convert guns into garden tools. The non-profit association is a non-violence advocacy group that sells garden tools to help it in its mission.

The Reverend Sarah Verasco, senior minister of the United Church of Christ of Longmont, said that $ 8,100 in gift cards was distributed to about 40 households who participated. An optional survey was available to complete for those who contributed gun parts. Of the 33 people who responded to the survey, about 73% “said they surrendered firearms for safety reasons,” Verasco said.

“We thought it was a wonderful testament to the need for a buyout,” Verasco said. “You know, we want to make it easy for people to hand over unwanted weapons. Our overall goal is gun safety.

Mike Martin, executive director of RAWtools, said Saturday’s buyout went well.

“The volunteers performed very well and there was a fairly constant flow of donations throughout the three hour period,” said Martin.

After the donation period, Martin said the community was invited to watch a blacksmith demonstrate the process of turning a weapon into a garden tool. RAWtools donated two tools: a garden shovel and a garden pickaxe, to the church. Verasco said the church also keeps gun parts to be used in creating art.

Ahead of the gun buyback event in September, the church hosted a gun safety box giveaway in July. They were able to donate 137 biometric safes and 55 automatic safes.

Verasco stressed that the donations that took place on Saturday are not considered a transfer of firearms. On the contrary, those who participated saw their weapon deactivated in front of them and the parts of the weapon were then donated for the cause.

Martin said anyone who missed the buyback but has a gun they want to donate to the cause can contact RAWtools at 719-629-7040.

“We just celebrated that our community was able to provide this opportunity to get rid of unwanted weapons,” said Verasco. “For us it’s really like a recycling event and we love the image of turning them from guns to garden tools because our congregation has a very vibrant environmental justice ministry and community garden ministry. “

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