The Wilton-based Quaker Meeting is working with the Newtown Foundation and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to fund a gun buyback project, in partnership with the Norwalk Police Department and Norwalk mayor’s office. Individuals who are part of the Quaker Meeting in Wilton have created a GoFundMe effort to raise the $5,000 needed to fund the buyback program.

Organizers are meeting with the Norwalk Police on Tuesday, July 30, and they say they need to raise the $5,000 to be a “go” so that  the city will commit their resources to it and begin to publicize the official event being planned for Saturday, Oct. 5.

The event will offer gift cards for groceries in amounts between $50 and $200, in exchange for guns; the amount offered to people bringing in their guns depends on the type of weapon turned in. Organizers anticipate that if there is significant response from gun owners, even more that $5,000 will be needed.

“This is a project that will get more guns off the street and out of homes where they are no longer wanted. We will actually transform the turned-in guns into garden tools,” organizers write on their fundraising website. “We will use a forge to transform the gun and rifle parts into gardening tools. That’s as close as you can get to ‘Swords into Plowshares!’  We think this is inspiring and symbolic to transform a weapon of death into a tool of life. It will also symbolize the transformation that is possible if Americans step back from the heated gun debate and try to listen to each other.”

Quaker Meeting participants are working with the Newtown Foundation, which will help us manage the funds through the Foundation’s 501 (c)(3).

Organizers cite several statistics as rationale for creating the gun buyback program.

“Our urban communities are plagued with the presence of too many guns. Gun violence claims more than 38,000 lives in the USA each year. Guns stolen from homes and autos often turn up in crime situations. And the more than 20,000 gun-related suicides each year would be cut significantly if guns were not available at a moment of desperation in someone’s life,” they write.

Gun owners from towns outside of Norwalk are able to participate, simply by bringing the weapon to Norwalk Police Headquarters on Oct. 5. Details will be announced once funding is secured and more planning can take place.

Wilton Quaker Meeting holds “unprogrammed” Quaker meetings for worship each Sunday at 10 a.m., at 317 New Canaan Rd. in Wilton.

The Newtown Foundation provides comfort, education, scholarship and other support and resources to people and communities impacted by the epidemic level of violence in American society in order to help them lead the way toward positive cultural change over the long term. The Newtown Foundation is a Newtown-based, all volunteer, organization working tirelessly since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to help the Newtown community heal and be remembered as the place where positive cultural changes began. Led by some of the same people who lead the Newtown Action Alliance, The Newtown Foundation is not involved in any legislative or electoral activities. Instead it is focused on educational, healing and cultural programs that inspire and empower youth and victims to transform tragedy into positive change.