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Denver, Aurora council members begin gun buyback program in 2022

With the help of Colorado Springs-based nonprofit RAWtools, recovered guns will be destroyed and turned into garden tools and jewelry.

DENVER — Denver District 5 Councilmember Amanda Sawyer and Aurora At-Large Councilmember Curtis Gardner announced a joint community gun buyback program for Denver and Aurora.

They will partner with RAWtools, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit organization that works with municipalities and faith-based community partners to plan gun buyback events.

Residents can turn over guns anonymously. Recovered firearms are destroyed to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives standards by trained volunteers and converted into garden tools and jewelry.

"While we know those participating in criminal activity will not typically turn in their firearms at a buyback event, reducing the number of available guns in our communities works as part of an overall strategy to address gun violence," the statement says.

The program launches in March 2022 and takes place in various churches, synagogues, or other community gathering places in both cities.

Eight events have already been planned, and details will be released in January. Four events will be held in Denver, and four in Aurora.

RELATED: Aurora community holds 'State of Emergency' meeting to address youth violence

“I am heartbroken over the events of the past few weeks," Sawyer said. "Our residents deserve to feel safe in their communities. Our kids deserve to feel safe in their schools. While it will not bring back those we have lost, every gun we can help take off the street represents a potential life, or lives, saved. I truly appreciate the partnership of RAWtools Executive Director Mike Martin and Councilmember Gardner in developing and implementing part of the solution to this epidemic.”

“I am sad to see the violence that has plagued Aurora and Denver," Gardner also said. "Both of our cities strive to be inclusive for all backgrounds, open for business & safe for all our residents, and violence, especially youth violence, is an epidemic. We know crime doesn’t stop at municipal borders, so I am grateful to Councilmember Sawyer for her leadership in this area. With the combined resources of our cities, my hope is we can ensure our residents feel safe calling Aurora and Denver home.”

The first buyback event will take place in March. Both Sawyer and Gardner are still looking for specific locations, such as faith-based communities, to host these events. 

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