A city in Connecticut is putting a new spin on its gun buy-back program. Rather than having people turn over illegally possessed firearms and having them destroyed, the New Haven Police Department, along with the Newtown Foundation, will have inmates turn the weapons into gardening tools.
The guns themselves will not go straight to the inmates. First, the police department will send the firearms to a metal sculptor who will render the weapons unusable. Once destroyed, the gun parts will go back to the Department of Correction where inmates will create the tools.
From the New Haven Register:
This year, the collected firearms will be given to Gar Waterman, a local metal sculptor, who is going to chop down the firearms and render them destroyed. The destroyed pieces then will be turned over to the Department of Correction where volunteer inmates will forge the pieces into gardening tools, under the tutelage of Raw Tools, a Colorado-based nonprofit that turns donated weapons into garden tools, according to Hartman.
When Jose Feliciano, warden of the New Haven Correctional Center, first got the call about bringing guns in and giving them to inmates, he was skeptical. However, once he then read up on Raw Tools and saw what they do, he realized he had an opportunity to take the guns and make them into something positive.
Those who come to Saturday’s buy-back event will receive gift cards in different monetary amounts depending on what kind of firearm they bring in. As reported in the Register, participants will receive “$25 for single and double-shot handguns, $50 for rifles and shotguns, $100 for pistols and revolvers, and $200 for assault weapons, according to a press release.”
The communications director of the Newtown Foundation had a rather….interesting…take on the gun buy-back program, however.
“It allows us to take this method of destruction, this murder machine, and turn it into something which is the polar opposite, something that is productive instead of destructive,” Steven Yanovsky, communications director for the Newtown Foundation, said. “The productivity will allow us to take this gardening tool, use it in a garden, plant vegetables. So you’re taking a weapon of death and turning it into the complete opposite, which is life. So you go from a rifle or a handgun to carrots.”
Talk about idealistic.
A gun isn’t a “murder machine” until someone makes it one. There is no reason to fear the gun itself. Police departments don’t use gun buy-back programs because they fear the weapons themselves. They fear them falling into the wrong hands; which, as we know, isn’t exactly solved by these types of community round-ups.
Since these sorts of programs continue and are unavoidable, even if they are ineffective, at least New Haven PD is doing something other than simply destroying them or keeping them in some random evidence room to rot.
Although, the irony isn’t lost on us here. It has to be more than a little funny that guns procured through a program designed to keep firearms away from criminals are indirectly making their way back into the hands of criminals. Oh, but it’s enlightening or something now, right? Heh.