Recycling is a conservative idea. Rather than throwing one thing away and having to replace it, reusing something saves resources—both the things we pull out of the ground and our own time. This is a concept that a pioneer crossing the expanse of North America understood, a concept that Hollywood exemplifies.
This, however, does not automatically make every example of recycling the best choice for reusing something old. One case in point is an organization called The Caliber Collection, a group of designers and artists who developed a project to take guns either sold in so-called buyback programs or seized during the investigation of a crime and turn these weapons into jewelry. This was in cooperation with Cory Booker, then the mayor of Newark, N.J. and now a senator from that state.
Newark is a city that has chronically suffered a violent crime rate well above the national average, and the city’s police department has a long history of creating an atmosphere of antagonism with residents. I can see why someone in desperation might seek out anything to solve the problems facing his community, even making schlock out of shell casings. If the largest city in the midst of a state that has some of the strictest gun control in America can’t show results through its laws, melting guns into bracelets seems like an act of whistling past a graveyard.
In practical terms, I have to wonder if Glocks get turned into kitchenware, but perhaps that’s an excess of snark. The anticipation of transforming swords into plowshares is an ancient one, though as Clint Eastwood’s character in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly points out, folks with plows will be doing the regolithic grunt work.
The guns picked up in turn-ins or at crime scenes often are the inexpensive and thoroughly ordinary firearms we’d expect, though every now and then, something special appears. In general, efforts by police or municipal authorities to buy guns from citizens yields a small box of junk, filled out with a few hunting rifles and revolvers inherited from Grandpa.
By contrast, American gun makers produce some three and a half million guns each year, according to one source, with more than twice that number produced in total global manufacture, adding up to 875 million firearms, of which three quarters are in private hands. The number of people running around with bracelets made from melted guns isn’t even a noticeable blip in the volume of new weapons coming on the market.
And then there’s the magnificent bastard who made an AK-47 out of a shovel. Just to underline the point, he added a $30 scope—thus making it both an assault and a sniper garden implement. If that’s too low tech, others go for the Star Trek approach and order an AR-15 from the replicator.
If a group of artistic do-gooders wants to turn guns they’ve legally obtained into jewelry, they should have at it. I can think of worse ways for them to occupy their time, and perhaps busy hands will prevent them from being busybodies. But they won’t be melting my guns, and I’m certain I’m not alone in that statement.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.