An AK-47 transforms into a plow. Or an AR-15 turns into a spade. Gun barrels become mattocks, hoes and trowels. These garden tools will be sold to buy more guns by Guns to Gardens, a buyback program dedicated to creating a cycle of awareness around gun violence.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV), which hosts the program, is a nonprofit that works to reduce gun violence. The program started about two and a half years ago and was modeled off of a similar program called RAWtools. Guns to Gardens allows gun owners to anonymously turn in their weapons and receive gift cards in return. But the gun’s life doesn’t stop there. The guns are dismantled and brought to an artist, who reshapes them into gardening tools.
A program like this especially important in a state like New Mexico, which has higher firearm mortality rates than the country’s average — a rate that has increased nearly twice as fast in New Mexico than in the rest of the country.
NMPGV has hosted seven gun buybacks in the past two years and has collected over 400 guns.
To learn more about Guns to Gardens, watch the above video.