Santa Fe event turns guns into gardening tools

After a successful gun buy-back event Saturday in Santa Fe, some of the guns taken off the streets were turned into garden tools Sunday.

About 50 people gathered on the steps of the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe on Sunday morning to help turn weapons into tools.

Local artist Don Redman brought his hammers, anvils and oven to turn gun parts into shovels for gardening.

The metal is melted and hammered into the metal spade while the wood from the guns is used for the handles.

Saturday’s gun buyout at Fiesta Nissan collected 166 weapons ranging from small handguns to AR and AK style rifles.

In return, gun owners received gift cards ranging from $100 to $250 depending on the style of gun.

Most gift card costs were borne by Nissan Fiesta owners.

Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Ben Valdez said he received positive and negative feedback on the buyout, but it gets unwanted guns off the streets.

“A lot of responsible gun owners are our best advocates because they in turn share that (their guns) should be in a safe or have them secured because a lot of people think the only way to secure is with a padlock and (they don’t believe) it’s very accessible but there are plenty of solutions (to keep guns safe.) and still be able to get them if needed for protection.

The Guns to Gardens event at First Presebyterian Church was sponsored by New Mexicans to prevent gun violence.

Group co-chairman Miranda Viscoli says the buyout was a success thanks to strong support from the city of Santa Fe and the police department.

“The city has been so supportive of all the gun buybacks,” she said. “Thanks to laws passed decades ago in New Mexico, a city council can’t do much, it’s one of the few things a city council can get.

This was the fifteenth takeover organized by New Mexicans To Prevent Gun Violence and the fifth with the assistance of the Santa Fe Police Department.

All weapons were checked to see if they had been reported stolen.

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