‘Weapons to Words’: What the city will do with metal from ‘buyback’ guns

(SPD deputy chief Nick Metz with the mayor; January photo by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times, republished with permission)
The city has announced what will be done with some of the metal from guns obtained in the January city “buyback” – it’ll be turned into plaques. The inscriptions for those plaques will come from a contest for children called “Weapons to Words,” explained in the city announcement:

Today Mayor Mike McGinn announced an outreach effort to inspire conversation among the youth of Seattle about gun violence. The City of Seattle, with the support of Chihuly Studio and Schnitzer Steel, is launching a contest called “Weapons to Words” that asks children in Seattle to come up with a short quotation on the subject of gun violence. Plaques made from metal upcycled from guns recovered from Seattle’s gun buyback program will feature quotes from Seattle students about what a violence-free future means to them.

“Our city has been through a lot lately. Gun violence has left many in our community wondering what they can do to help” said Mayor McGinn. “These upcycled plaques, inscribed with the hopes and dreams of the next generation, will transform weapons of violence into something positive. It is my hope that this project will spur a conversation in our community about what kind of city we want to be, and how we can get there together.”

The plaques, made from upcycled steel that includes the weapons we recovered, will be placed in Seattle parks.

Chihuly Studio is helping to design the upcycled plaques and The Office of Arts & Culture will convene a panel to select the entries from the students to be engraved on the plaques.

“The history of gun violence in our city is tragic” said recently appointed Director of the Office of Arts and Culture Randy Engstrom. “This initiative underlies the ways in which the creative process can be used to confront challenging social issues.”

Students can enter by submitting their quote on the subject of gun violence to seattle.gov/mayor, where you can also find contest guidelines and rules. Contest entries should come from students in the first through twelfth grades living in Seattle, and should be no more than 50 words. The panel will select the winning entries by September 15th, 2013.

“Chihuly Studio is proud to support this program,” said Leslie Jackson Chihuly, President of Chihuly Studio. “Weapons to Words allows our youth to express themselves in their own way about the world in which they are growing up. I have confidence in them, and I know this contest will bring out the best in all.”

The announcement didn’t mention West Seattle’s Nucor Steel, which had been mentioned pre-buyback as a participant in the future steel recycling, so we have a followup question out about that.

ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: A couple of phone calls today led us to realize we hadn’t updated this story with the reply to the aforementioned followup question. McGinn spokesperson Aaron Pickus replied:

Nucor is a partner of our gun buyback program. They melted down most of the guns from the first event and the metal was used in community projects. Schnitzer is also donating their services now for the Weapons to Words piece of the program.

25 Replies to "'Weapons to Words': What the city will do with metal from 'buyback' guns "

  • Coyote May 7, 2013 (1:46 pm)

    This is the kind of idea a stoned hippy comes up with.

    Edit: I mean EXTREMELY stoned hippy.

  • Brewmeister May 7, 2013 (2:02 pm)

    OK, I’m all for the right to bear arms, but a Bazooka? That might be pushing it a little bit.

  • dave May 7, 2013 (2:07 pm)

    Ah. Nucor Steel might be involved? Was trying to figure out how this was tied to West Seattle.

    • WSB May 7, 2013 (2:29 pm)

      Separate from Nucor’s possible involvement, we do report on citywide issues of extensive interest, which the gun buyback was … TR

  • Jeff May 7, 2013 (2:36 pm)

    The “bazooka” was a non-reloadable spent fiberglass tube, a one time use item, available at surplus stores to hang on walls etc. that SPD decided to confiscate from a perfectly legal owner.

  • brandon May 7, 2013 (3:03 pm)

    I remember the story of the bazooka, the owner did not have it confiscated, he sold during the gun buy-back

  • NeoYogi May 7, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    “Decided to confiscate”. That’s pretty funny.

  • Chris May 7, 2013 (3:22 pm)

    Finally! A fix for our gun violence troubles.

  • Jeff May 7, 2013 (3:53 pm)

    I’m perfectly willing to be corrected on it, I just remember it being the original owner brought it to the event, got frustrated with the delays, sold it to one of the people buying directly from people waiting in line, and then SPD saying it was illegal and hand it over to the new guy. Am I remembering incorrectly?

    Regardless, its a stupid piece for the photo op and no more dangerous than 6 feet of irrigation pipe.

  • rocky raccoon May 7, 2013 (3:59 pm)

    This is comical, but also sad. We have serious problems that need serious solutions. Not feel-good BS.

  • smokeycretin9 May 7, 2013 (4:23 pm)

    I wonder what would happen with a potato cannon ???

  • dave May 7, 2013 (4:51 pm)

    Your potato cannon is fine unless it has one of the following features: A removable magazine that can hold more than 10 potatoes. A collapsible stock. A forward grip. Can be modified to fire objects other than potatoes, such as onions or small grapefruit.

  • Robert May 7, 2013 (4:55 pm)

    I agree with rocky raccoon. This is indeed feel-good bs and is not harmless in that it does take time and energy away from more serious work. I hope they spare our parks from these silly plaques.

  • smokeycretin9 May 7, 2013 (5:54 pm)

    Lol @ Dave

    what if it was full auto and had a tactical rail?

  • WsEd May 7, 2013 (7:36 pm)

    Maybe they can build a giant bicycle to memorialize the mayors single term.

  • smokeycretin9 May 7, 2013 (8:38 pm)

    WsEd…I cant find the “like” button on your post.


  • dave May 7, 2013 (10:06 pm)

    Tactical rail is fine as long as its not a scary color. I’d recommend a dusty rose hue. For full auto you need a special permit. It can be obtained by watching 9 months of Iron Chef (or Chopped if you have an allergic reaction to Bobby Flay).
    Best of luck.

  • Rick May 8, 2013 (7:46 am)

    Dave – you ought to have your own show.

  • brandon May 8, 2013 (8:22 am)

    @Jeff, i think you are actually correct they did confiscate it. why they did I will never know, except that it looks impressive to say hey look we got a bazooka off the streets.

  • sb in ws May 8, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    You gun guys are right, it is a ‘feel good thing’. You actually think it would help? Well maybe it just might in one case. I took my father’s gun in to that buy back, not for money but to keep one less gun off the streets. It could have been stolen by a criminal, which is one of the ways they get their guns and I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t want anyone else to have it either. My father, an ex-NRA member would have done the same after those kids were killed. He was sick of this country having the highest gun death rates in the world. It feels damn good to do it, yes it does.

  • Blinkyjoe May 8, 2013 (12:51 pm)

    SB in WS, here is the real story for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    USA is down at number…..

    Jeff, you have the story correct. SPD decided to confiscate it.

    • WSB May 8, 2013 (1:14 pm)

      Lest anyone be confused, “down” is not a good thing on that list. #1 is the lowest death rate involving guns. (Japan) The U.S. is listed as #57 out of #75. (Assuming it’s an accurate list; Wikipedia is a lot more accurate these days than it used to be, but I don’t know where to truth-squad the whole list. Just wanted to note that it was ordered counterintuitively.)

  • Blinkyjoe May 8, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    Correct Tracy, it’s not a top-to-bottom ranking. You can click on the column to sort highest to lowest.

  • dave May 9, 2013 (8:50 am)

    Found this interesting, from CNN:
    Looking back 50 years, a Pew Research Center study found U.S. gun homicides rose in the 1960s, gained in the 1970s, peaked in the 1980s and the early 1990s, and then plunged and leveled out the past 20 years.
    “Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago,” the researchers say.
    The new study found U.S. firearm homicides peaked in 1993 at 7.0 deaths per 100,000 people. But by 2010, the rate was 49% lower, and firearm-related violence — assaults, robberies, sex crimes — was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993, the study found.
    Link: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/us/study-gun-homicide/index.html?iref=allsearch

  • Halyn May 9, 2013 (1:22 pm)

    I get the symbolism and the feel-good woo-wooness of the peace brick plan, but sorry, it’s freakin’ stupid. How about the city sells the metal from these guns and puts that money into programs for at-risk youth? Or any sort of program that might actually make a difference. Like someone is going to change their mind about committing murder because of a child’s wise words on a peace brick. I mean, seriously? I’m a gun person, but I agree that gun violence is a problem that needs to be addressed. Peace bricks don’t come anywhere near a solution–they’re just a way for people to make themselves feel good about the problem.

Sorry, comment time is over.