Cops Harvest Record 138 Guns In “Swords To Plowshares” Buyback


Some of the 138 guns collected Saturday.

Some of the 138 guns collected Saturday.

The idea of turning deadly weapons into tools to grow a better world caught on big in New Haven Saturday.

The occasion was the police department’s annual gun buy-back program, when people can turn in unwanted weapons, not questions asked, in return for gift cards.

This year the department added a twist: Working with a national group called RAW Tools and with Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and Yale-New Haven Hospital, the department arranged to have a renowned local sculptor, Gar Waterman, oversee the destruction of the guns. Then prison inmates will refashion the metal into gardening tools for use by students in local agriculture education programs.

The word got out — and 138 guns came in Saturday, shattering last year’s record of 103, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman. Seventy people brought in the total of 103 weapons, which included “four Derringer style single/ double-shot handguns, seventy-four handguns and sixty long-guns (rifles & shotguns), including two assault type weapons.”

Click here to read a fuller story about the program.

Click here to read an editorial about it in Saturday’s New York Times — holding out promise that New Haven’s “swords into plowshares” effort may resonate far and wide.