UPDATE: It turns out that the firearms from the January buyback were melted into rebar only days after. Mayor McGinn now admits that he knew this but held the information from the public because “they didn’t ask,” even though he said the 700 guns collected were the specific guns to be melted down.
After collecting over 700 firearms at the Seattle Police Department’s gun buyback program last January, Mayor Mike McGinn announced Tuesday that the firearms would be melted down and turned into plaques, inscribed with children’s “peaceful messages,” to be placed across the city.
Despite the failure of the SPD’s last buyback program in 1992 and several studies showing gun buyback programs to be nothing more than “political theater,” the City of Seattle, in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., set up yet another buyback program last January offering up $100 gift cards. The program quickly turned into a makeshift gun show as private citizens outbid police with cash.
Now, the city has launched “Weapons to Words,” a children’s contest that asks school age kids to write short quotations on “what a violence-free future means to them,” with guns in mind. The winning quotations will be placed on the plaques, melted and engraved through donations and put in several parks across the city.
“These upcycled plaques, inscribed with the hopes and dreams of the next generation, will transform weapons of violence into something positive,” said Mayor McGinn.
McGinn has received criticism for what many feel is using children to push an agenda while somehow claiming the inanimate guns turned in during the buyback were violent.
“Presumably, children submitting any message about mommy using a firearm to protect herself against a rapist or stalker or violent ex-husband or boyfriend might not be a winner,” said Dave Workman, Washington resident and senior editor of TheGunMag.
Despite the push for gun control from some, including Attormey General Eric Holder who called for “brain washing” school children to be anti-gun, two new reports, including one from the Justice Department released Tuesday, concluded that gun homicides have dropped as much as 49 percent in the last 20 years. The report also found that non-fatal gun crimes have dropped nearly 70 percent.
As gun crime plummets and record gun and ammumition sales are reported, Mayor McGinn’s vision of a non-violent future appears to already be underway, just not the way he wants it to. McGinn also announced his plan for another gun buyback this summer, although no official date has been given.