How garden tools are helping alleviate Utah’s gun violence problem

Jun 8, 2022, 5:05 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm

SANDY, Utah — As the debate over gun violence intensifies nationwide, the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah offers a solution for unwanted guns this Saturday.

They will help people transform unused firearms into useful garden tools.

It’s called Guns to Gardens. Trained people will be on hand to dismantle unwanted firearms and take them to a company in Colorado where they will be turned into garden tools.

“We’re offering people who no longer want their guns, or need their guns, a safe surrender spot,” said Nancy Halden, communications director for the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is hosting Guns to Gardens events in 11 cities nationwide. The Gun Violence Prevention Center is partnering with the Community of Grace Presbyterian Church to safely dismantle unwanted, unloaded firearms. It is set for Saturday, June 11, from 2:30-4:30 pm at Community of Grace Presbyterian Church on 2015 E. Newcastle Dr., Sandy, UT 84093.

“These events are not about numbers. These events are about getting people to think differently,” said Halden.

And changing people’s hearts she said.

Guns to Gardens offers a safe, sustainable opportunity to dismantle unwanted firearms, which RAWtools will transform into usable garden tools. The Colorado company was in Salt Lake City in 2019 for a similar event when it dismantled numerous guns with a chop saw, melted down the guns in a portable forge, and beat them into garden tools.

This Saturday there will not be a portable forge, but the guns will be dismantled with a chop saw before RAWtools takes them away.

“We really believe that the more guns you have, the more gun violence you have, and during the pandemic, gun sales exploded. People were fearful and went out and bought guns,” Halden said.

The Gun Violence Prevention Center is concerned that many first-time gun owners are untrained and do not store their firearms safely. The center does not have concerns with responsible gun owners.

“We just want people that have guns just hanging around, that are just a liability to think they have another option,” Halden said.

They hope to put on an event like this every year. People can also contact RAWtools or the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah as a disarming station when there’s not an event.

“Even when there’s not an event, we will safely disarm a gun for you, and send the parts to RAWtools.”

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How garden tools are helping alleviate Utah’s gun violence problem