New Orleans turning ‘buyback guns’ into bling (VIDEO)

The New Orleans Police Department has partnered with a New York project to hack up and melt down guns collected from the city and recycle them into jewelry.

The city, which has the highest murder rate per capita in the country, has partnered with Peter Thum’s Liberty United project in their endeavor to re-purpose firearms purchased through community buy-backs or crime guns no longer needed for evidence.

Thum, the businessman who created and sold Ethos Water to Starbucks before founding Fonderie 47, a jewelry company that makes watches and accessories out of some 50,000 pre-owned AK-47s collected from the African war zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, has backed Liberty United to do largely the same thing with Hi-Points and busted old shotguns in the U.S.

New Orleans, who collected 1,500 guns last year, is the fifth city to join the project and proceeds from the jewelry sales will go towards nonprofit organizations in the city with at least 20 percent befitting NOLA For Life, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s murder reduction strategy.

“By taking illegal firearms that have been seized and turn them into wearable statements, we’re not only encouraging a dialogue about ending gun violence, but we are supporting the organizations that are on the front lines helping the youth in our community,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said in the above video from WDSU.