Gun owners were invited to get rid of their unwanted firearms Saturday as part of a gun buyback event in Park Hill.
“We have people in our community who have lost, lost a loved one due to gun violence,” said Deacon Clarence McDavid with Cure d’Ars Catholic Church. "Obviously, it is an individual who commits an act of violence, but a weapon makes that act of violence possible."
McDavid says gun violence is a problem that cannot be ignored.
“We need people to speak about it to stand up and speak about it in a strong way, in a way that says we can do better than this,” said McDavid.
That’s why the church teamed up with Guns to Gardens, a coalition of people and organizations who share a common goal.
“Guns to Gardens is a national movement of folks who think that we should do something about unwanted firearms in homes and communities,” said Taylor Davenport-Hudson, a volunteer and spokesperson for the group.
They hosted a gun buyback event at the church on Saturday.
People could drive up to the church’s parking lot and surrender their guns with no questions asked.
In exchange, they received grocery store gift cards ranging from $50 to 250 dollars, depending on the type of gun they donated.
“We dismantle handguns, long guns, rifles, even assault weapons, and depending on the type of gun, our gun donors get a grocery store gift card as a thank you,” said Davenport-Hudson.
Because the guns are donated anonymously, organizers severely restricted media access to the event.
After the guns are dismantled, they’re turned into garden tools, art, and jewelry.
“It has a little bit of a scriptural context in terms of turning your weapons into gardening tools,” said McDavid. “And with that, though, not only is there the scriptural context, but there is also the realization that we have an opportunity to save lives.”
Davenport-Hudson said they try to do events quarterly.
Davenport-Hudson said 35 guns were donated at Saturday’s event, including four assault-style weapons.
For more information, visit https://www.gunstogardens.org/