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Local organizations turning guns into gardening tools

The New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Home Beneath Our Feet and Raw Tools held an event Saturday focused on preventing gun violence.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — At a time when it’s easy to feel helpless and like we’ve lost control, sometimes it’s nice to be able to take matters into our own hands. 

Mark Stradley knows too well what it’s like to feel helpless. 

“I've had students that have died by suicide,” he said. “I've had students that have taken a bullet that wasn't even intended for them. I just felt like something needed to be done.”

Because of that, the high school counselor and co-founder of RAWTools Buffalo turned blacksmith teamed up with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Home Beneath Our Feet to turn guns into gardening tools. 

The groups hosted an event Saturday afternoon to demonstrate how they do it. 

“The Bible talks about turning weapons into things that give life, so instead of it being swords, returning guns into garden tools to make a life out of it,” Stradley said. 

Dwight Lowe shared that same feeling of helplessness. 

After losing multiple friends and family members to gun violence, he took on gardening as a means to cope and joined the event this week with the hopes of reinventing what guns are in his life and others. 

“It’s not like you're just gardening,” he said. “You’re gardening with a purpose.”

Together the group has received over 100 guns from local law enforcement and community members. It plans to donate the new tools to youth community gardens across the city with the hopes of teaching the next generation that even when you feel helpless and like you’ve lost control, there’s always work that can be done. 

“To be able to actually plant something and make something out of something that may have brought death in our community and inspiring life — I think that that's great. I think that's good for our future,” Stradley said. 

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