Gun buyback event this weekend in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As shootings continue to rack the Albuquerque metro and the U.S., there are more efforts to get guns off the streets, including buyback events.

Welding students are taking part in these efforts. However, something else connects these students:

“I’ve had a few friends from this school that have passed away from gun violence.”

“I’ve actually lost family members to gun violence, especially in Albuquerque.”

“It’s like every night, you hear gunshots, waking up to gunshots, somebody else is getting killed.”

They all have different stories but with similar goals.

“I wanted to take unwanted guns off the streets and take them off a house that has no reason to have them.”

Now, these students are taking unwanted and dismantled guns and transforming them into gardening tools.

“We’re turning these violent guns into things like vases that can sustain life,” a student said regarding the initiative,

The local organization, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, created “Guns to Gardens.”

“Our students in New Mexico, and in Albuquerque deal with gun violence on a regular basis. It’s the leading cause of death for children in New Mexico. It’s the leading cause of death for children in this country. When we give them opportunities to really think about what nonviolence looks like, we create tools that create life rather than tools that kill people,” said Miranda Viscoli, the organization’s co-president.

Many of these students say the program has had a positive impact.

“Now going through two months of still being here, I’ve learned an important message. We do help our community a lot. A lot of people may not realize it but we are technically saving lives and it helped me a lot too keeping me out of trouble as well as the people I work with,” a student said.

Students work with guns turned in from buyback events hosted by New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. They partnered with Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and other organizations and are having their 18th buyback event this weekend.

“Buybacks have proven to show, not just in the state of New Mexico, but across the nation that it’s unused and unwanted firearms that are in homes. We want to make sure that people are safe and not fall into unsafe hands. That’s what’s most important,” BCSO Sheriff John Allen.

The buyback event is this Saturday where you can surrender your gun, no questions asked. It’s from 9 a.m. to noon at the South Valley Social Enterprise Center.

For each gun you surrender, you can get a gift card for things like gas or groceries. The value of that gift card depends on the type of gun.

BCSO will also hand out free gunlocks. More info is available by clicking here.