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Guns to Gardens brings in 24 gun surrenders despite cancellation

Posted at 11:41 PM, Jun 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-10 23:41:37-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Guns to Gardens looked much different than originally planned Saturday morning. Emily Bruno says they had to change the event last minute because of a county ordinance. So instead of dismantling guns and sending them off to make gardening tools. People who did show up could pledge to have their gun go through that process instead.

"We did offer to anyone who came the opportunity for us to arrange a time for them to have us come to them with a chop saw or some other meeting place where we can do the dismantling in a private setting," Bruno said. "Which avoided all the legal concerns that were raised last minute."

Guns to Gardens offered gift cards ranging from $200 to $400 as a way to say thank you to people who surrendered their guns. Don Pumphrey, founder of the Pumphrey Law Firm, says the county ordinance might have become an issue with the county attorney because of those gift cards being considered a form of payment.

"The person accepting it in other words the people who are melting it down and turning it into garden tools is actually paying or purchasing the firearm in a quasi sense so I could see why people would be cautious," said Pumphrey.

Bruno says there were alternatives offered to them but they didn't have enough time to make them work.

"One of the exceptions is having a carry concealed permit, this was shared with us yesterday morning and the volunteers we have working on this don't have a carry concealed permit," said Bruno.

Pumphrey says he likes the idea of Guns to Gardens and hopes they'll be able to continue their work soon.

"I think Guns to Gardens will get it figured out," Pumphrey said. "They'll just have the right people and the right place and make the county attorney feel more comfortable, and the sheriff will show up and help facilitate everything and help get more guns off the street."

Guns to Gardens had 24 guns pledged for their program Saturday morning, which Bruno says makes the canceled event a success.

"This is resurrection work. I mean when we thought this event was dead and we still had all these people show up joyfully wanting to surrender their guns and turn them into garden tools that's death to life and it's just incredible," said Bruno.

Guns to Gardens is hoping to have the event they originally planned for in the future. They're working to get concealed weapons permits for their volunteers.