Inaugural NH Guns to Gardens Event Helps Granite Staters Remove 31 Unwanted Firearms from Circulation, Including AR-15
*** Pictures and short video/audio available by request ***
GunSense NH, NH Council of Churches, Kent Street Coalition, and other members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition offered opportunity for Granite Staters to safely dispose of unwanted guns without putting them back out on the market; giveback gun program is the first New Hampshire event of national effort
CONCORD, NH – During a “Guns to Gardens” event in Concord today, gun violence prevention advocates helped community members remove 31 unwanted firearms from circulation, including an AR-15.
“Many Americans are realizing that having a firearm in the home can increase the chances of someone creating harm to themselves or others,” said Nancy Brown, Guns to Gardens Project Coordinator for GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “I’m excited that Gun Sense NH and our coalition partners are sponsoring the first of what, we hope, will become an annual Guns to Gardens event. These events provide the opportunity for unwanted guns to be permanently taken out of circulation, making our homes and communities safer places to live, work, go to school, and play.”
“We are at a watershed moment in this country when it comes to preventing gun violence,” said Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches. “It should be easier to get rid of unwanted guns, and when laws prevent that, we must do it ourselves. This event is a step toward creating a world with fewer guns, and less gun violence.”
The event was hosted by GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, the NH Council of Churches, Kent Street Coalition, and other members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition. Concord Wesley United Methodist Church in Concord provided the space for the event.
Nationally, Guns to Gardens events provide the opportunity for gun owners to bring their unwanted firearms to a location for volunteers to provide the service of disabling those firearms and turning them into garden tools. Under state law, New Hampshire law enforcement officials are prohibited from destroying firearms which come into their possession and must either store the firearms, use them, or sell them back out on the market. Guns to Gardens provides an opportunity for Granite Staters to remove unwanted firearms from circulation.
Interested community members brought unloaded firearms in the trunk of a car or the bed of a truck and remained in the vehicle at all times. Guns were removed from vehicles by trained volunteers, double checked and disarmed, and then delivered to a chop saw operator who disabled the firearm. Scrap metal from the firearms was then donated and will next go to a metal artist to be later transformed into garden tools and other works of art. The event had a steady flow of community members all day long, with the first cars lining up at 10 am as the event opened.
“This effort is a great opportunity for Granite Staters who want to remove unwanted firearms from their homes without putting them back out on the market,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “We are excited that so many people came out to our first Guns to Gardens event with the goal to reduce unwanted firearms in our homes and instead transform them into something more useful, and less harmful, to our community.”
About the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition: The NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition has worked together for the last decade to protect and advance common sense public safety laws. Members include gun violence prevention advocates, moms, medical professionals, gun owners, veterans, law enforcement, elected officials, school administrators, educators, students, and faith leaders, and organizations representing various constituencies. The coalition is convened by GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress.
About Guns to Gardens: Guns to Gardens is hosted by GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, the NH Council of Churches, Kent Street Coalition, and other partners. The first Guns to Gardens began as a project of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence and has grown into a nationwide effort to reduce the number of unwanted guns (and thereby gun deaths) in our country. Supporting organizations include RAWtools, The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and the Gun Safety Alliance.