Inmates to Turn Guns from Buyback Program Into Gardening Tools

By turning guns into garden tools, there’s a new and unusual twist for a program meant to get weapons off the streets of New Haven.

"Every gun that we get off the street, out of a home that doesn’t need to be there, it’s a success," Chief Anthony Campbell, New Haven Police, said.

And that’s why Campbell celebrated the record number of guns turned into the city’s buyback event on Saturday.

From handguns to rifles, 138 firearms were collected including two assault-type weapons.

"I am very pleased because being in this profession far too often when you think of guns and what they do, all that you really hear is destruction," Campbell said.

Now the guns – which could have been used for violence – will instead help the community grow, quite literally.

Once destroyed by police, they will be handed off to inmates who will recast them as garden tools.

In the spring the transformed pieces will be donated to school kids in New Haven, who will use them to grow gardens and then will bring the harvest to area soup kitchens.

"So literally the weapons, the swords of destruction, will be used to bring about life," Campbell said.

This event took several groups to make work, including the Newtown Action Alliance.

It hopes the idea spreads to other communities.

"For us this is the first step in what we hope to be an effort to get more and more guns off the streets," Steve Yanovsky, communications director of the Newtown Action Alliance, said.

The Newtown Action Alliance says efforts such as this are even more important with national attempts at gun control appearing stalled.

The people who turned in the guns received gift cards in exchange.

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