Turning guns to jewelry to help fight gun violence

Sep 25, 2013

The city of Syracuse is joining forces with a company that turns the remnants of guns and bullets into jewelry, and turns the profits towards helping reduce gun violence.

At a press conference in Syracuse Wednesday, Peter Thum, founder of Liberty United, showed off some of the jewelry that's been created from the remnants of melted-down guns and bullets confiscated by police -- some of them from Syracuse.

"These pieces here are made of bullet shell casings and brass; each piece bears the serial number of one of the guns we've recycled from the cities we're working with," said Thum.

He explains that it's the sales of these rings, bracelets and necklaces that help in the fight against gun violence. "The sales of those jewelry pieces, 25 percent of the sales, will go back to fund programs through not-for-profits in partnership cities," Thum said. "Guns are primarily made of steel.  They're also made of other materials, like plastic and aluminum and wood.  We've only used steel in the manufacturing of jewelry so far. We also receive shell casings. Shell casings are made primarily of brass.  We only use the brass shell casings."

Liberty United founder Peter Thum (right) shows Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner some of the jewelry the company produces from guns and bullets.
Liberty United founder Peter Thum (right) shows Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner some of the jewelry the company produces from guns and bullets.
Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO


Mayor Stephanie Miner says while the city has not yet chosen the recipient of the funds, there are a number of organizations that work to halt gun violence in Syracuse that could benefit from this.
 
"Part of what we are doing with Liberty United, is figuring out how much money will be coming to Syracuse, so people can budget for that, and then we can see, depending on how much money it is, where it should properly go," Miner said.

Syracuse is the third city to partner with Liberty United. Other partner cities include Newburgh, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Shoppers can specify on the website for Liberty United, what city should get the proceeds from the sale.