ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A push to make communities safer from gun violence, has local organizations teaming up with Albuquerque police to turn weapons into signs of peace.
Organizers say gun violence is a multi-faceted problem that needs a multi-faceted approach. So, a nationwide “Guns to Gardens” buyback program on June 11 hopes to get the weapons out of the wrong hands and turn them into something new. “It’s a way to take these weapons that are unwanted, these weapons that can hurt and kill people and then are forged into gardening tools, so we actually take the scraps and even the wood is used up to raw tools,” said New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Co-President, Miranda Viscoli.
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Viscoli says the organization has been buying back guns since 2016, but this Saturday will be the first nationwide buyback with 18 cities across 8 states participating. Viscoli adds the program is just another tool to reduce gun-related crimes across the nation and buying back even just one firearm will go a long way. Some people in the community agree but say they want even more done to tackle the problem. “Buying back guns might be a band-aid but I don’t think it’s a solution,” said Scott Rideout. “I don’t like guns anywhere ever, they scare me, I just don’t like them, I wish nobody had them, said Linda Vik.
Viscoli says programs like these also remind people of their stored guns, which many at times forget. She says so far the organization has dismantled more than 1,000 guns. The buyback event will be held this Saturday from 11 am to 3 p.m. at La Mesa Presbyterian Church. People who turn in their guns will receive gift cards of up to $250 per weapon.