BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – In a garage not far from the corner of Hertel Avenue and Delaware Avenue in Buffalo sits a small forge. The metals inside reach scorching temperatures, enough to soften the metal, which is hammered on a nearby anvil.
Working the little bits of metal, turning them into gardening tools, they’re a pair of men.
“I started thinking about how can I give back, or what could I do to try to help my community heal,” asked Mark Stradley, a guidance counselor. He and Steven Johnson, a pastor, formed Raw Tools Buffalo.
It is not fair to call the metal they work with simply metal.
“Disarm guns and turn them into garden tools,” Johnson explained.
Stradley and Johnson want their forge to be a healing path for anyone who has been affected by gun violence.
“It’s an avenue for people who have been impacted by gun violence in Western New York,” Stradley said.
This armed violence includes suicide.
“The police will take that gun, process it, and when the case is kind of closed, they’ll return that gun to the family. And what would they want with that? They can have peace knowing that that gun will never take another human life,” Johnson added.
The idea comes from the first Raw Tools in Colorado.
“He read in Isaiah chapter two, verse four that the vision God has for the future is one where we no longer need weapons, where they will turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into bill hooks”, Johnson said.
These two men do not seek to change the laws.
“We want a world where there is more peace,” Johnson added.
They are looking for more people who would like to get involved, and they are looking for anyone who wants to donate a firearm that needs to be disarmed.
You can find @RAWToolsBuffalo on Instagram or email them: [email protected]