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Mile High Morning: How the Broncos are helping reduce gun violence

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The Lead

Even in the offseason, the Broncos continue to show their dedication to making a positive change in the community.

On Tuesday, the team co-hosted a press conference with local leaders from the Denver and Aurora municipalities to discuss their new joint gun buyback initiative to help prevent gun violence in partnership with RAWtools, a group that will take those weapons, deconstruct them and make them into garden and hand tools.

"The process we use adds the ability to turn disabled firearms into garden tools but more importantly allows people in communities impacted by gun violence to be a part of that process," RAWtools executive director Mike Martin said. "… You may see parents who have lost a child disabling an AR-15. Many of our partners who make this work are connected to community gardens and these tools at these events that we make will be used to till their soil. This is not a simple buyback. This is postvention and prevention. It is a mass effort to collaborate as neighbors to take that which harms our communities and transform it into something that will bring life to our communities."

According to Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas, more than 85 percent of Denver homicides were from gun violence in 2021, and police recovered more than 2,000 guns in that time.

In addition to helping prevent violence, the program can help prevent accidental deaths and suicides.

"It is for these reasons Denver is supportive of these types of events to help eliminate the possibility of guns being used in crimes or shootings," Thomas said. "Additionally, community members can help make the community safer by locking up guns or storing them properly. We also caution folks about introducing guns into a situation. They can have tragic, fatal, deadly and life-changing implications."

The program will offer $50 to $250, depending on the gun, each of which must be unloaded, and ammo will not be accepted, FOX 31 Denver's Deborah Takahara reported Tuesday.

"Each buyback will be a drive-thru model, where participants must remain in their vehicle," the Broncos' press release read. "Firearms are to be brought in the trunk or back seat of a vehicle and removed by a RAWtools representative to be disabled. Participants need to be sure to check that their firearm is unloaded prior to arriving at a buyback event. Ammunition will not be accepted. Unneeded gun cases and locks, however, will be accepted. Any donated gun locks will be redistributed to the community at a later time."

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