Over 18,000 people nationwide have died by gun violence or suicide so far this year. Another nearly 16,000 people have been injured by one, according to statistics from the Gun Violence archive.
Enter the Guns 2 Garden Tools project, a national movement that works to “forge peace” by turning unwanted guns and into useful garden tools. And this Saturday, June 11, the Midvale Community Lutheran Church will host Wisconsin’s first Guns 2 Garden Tools surrender in their parking lot.
Trained volunteers will use power chop saws to dismantle the devices and make them guns no more. At that point, it’s no longer legally a gun—and the donor can donate the leftover parts to be forged into garden tools.
Madison will be one of thirteen cities nationwide participating in the organization’s gun buyback event. And the man organizing the movement in Madison is retired Lutheran pastor Jeff Wild.
Wild has been turning donated guns into garden implements for a while now, after being personally touched by suicide deaths, reading the book Beating Guns, and drawing on his experience in both gardening and metal forging.
He says it’s part of a spiritual tradition, too, pointing to Isaiah 2:4 — “God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks.”
Wild joined News Director Chali Pittman to talk about his project, and the buyback this Saturday, on the Tuesday 8 O’Clock Buzz.
More on the gun buyback:
The Guns 2 Garden Tools buyback/surrender will take place this Saturday, June 11, from 9am to noon in the parking lot of the Midvale Community Lutheran Church (4329 Tokay Boulevard).
Guns should be unloaded — no ammunition is accepted. Donors will stay in their vehicle throughout the process, and should put unloaded guns in the back seat of a car or the rear of a van. Skilled personnel will remove the firearms from vehicles and transfer them to a chop saw station, where the gun is dismantled.
The gun donor waits through this process. There is no transfer of firearm ownership. Once the gun is dismantled, it is no longer legally a gun. The donor can donate the leftover parts to be forged into garden tools.
Photo provided by guest.