The Taos County Sheriff’s Department is joining New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence to host the first ever “Guns To Gardens Gun Buyback” 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. , Saturday (May 20) at the Sheriff’s Office, 599 Lovato Pl. in Taos.
Merchant cards for gas, electronics, and food will be distributed in exchange for unloaded, working firearms. All exchanges are anonymous, and Santa Fe Community College welding instructors will dismantle guns onsite.
The event will mark the third statewide gun buyback to safely get unwanted working guns out of homes and off the streets. Over the coming year, RAWtools, in partnership with Santa Fe Community College welding and sculpture students, will forge unwanted, dismantled guns into garden tools and public art projects and installations. Watch RAWtools at work here: rawtools.org/swords-to-plows.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, 405 people were shot and killed in our state in 2015. This means that gun-related deaths in New Mexico increased 16.4 percent in the past year, marking the largest increase in gun deaths in decades. Additionally:
- New Mexico children are killed by firearms at a rate 60 percent higher than the national average;
- The majority of people in possession of unwanted firearms do not know how to dispose of them responsibly;
- Secondhand transfers of such firearms do not require transaction records or criminal background checks;
- Gun buyback programs are a proven way to safely and anonymously collect thousands of such weapons, immediately reducing the risk of gun violence in any community.