Guns to Gardens
In 2016, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence created the Guns to Gardens buyback program. In New Mexico, it is difficult to get rid of unwanted firearms because of a statute that does not allow law enforcement to easily destroy them. Every unwanted firearm brought into a police station needs a court order of approval to be destroyed as well as a historian to verify that it is not a historical gun. Our Guns to Gardens program addressed a need in our communities to get rid of these unwanted firearms and in doing so reduced the number of guns in circulation. Fewer guns mean safer communities. The buybacks also help to elevate the conversation on the dangers of having a gun in the home. See our report from one of our buybacks: https://shorturl.at/vDNO4
To date, we have held 18 buybacks and destroyed over 2000 firearms with close to 40% being semi-automatics and assault weapons. Our anonymous survey shows that the majority of participants are getting rid of guns for safety reasons. Dismantling and forging them into objects that sustain life rather than take lives has provided an unexpected entre into the complicated discourse about our identity as a nation that both loves and despises guns. The guns are forged into gardening tools and musical instruments by RFK Charter high school students in Albuquerque. This school is in an area that experiences a magnitude of gun violence. You can read about the students work in this Searchlight article: https://shorturl.at/sU134 See our short film that was accepted into the ALPA film festival that describes the program: https://youtu.be/CELRDd5tbZQ
You can purchase the gardening tools on this website or on our Facebook Shop
100% of the sale of the tool goes to our buyback program.
In January of 2023, we partnered with Site Santa Fe, artists Pedro Reyes and Jeremy Thomas and RFK Charter high school students to create vases and musical instruments from dismantled firearms. Click here to see a moving film about the project: https://youtu.be/sbDv_OS38eA
“The land of enchantment has a gun problem. New Mexicans to prevent gun violence has a solution: buy them and make them into garden tools. Tiago Renê Torres Da Silva leaves details in every tool he forges. Details that have stories. Silva, a blacksmith by trade, takes disarmed guns and turns them into garden tools… ”