Chicago has long been known for its gun violence, recording 329 homicides so far this year and a total of 441 last year. Weapons seizures are also off the charts, with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office collecting an estimated 1,500 guns a year and some ammunition, Sheriff Thomas Dart told Reuters. And while guns and bullets are usually destroyed after law enforcement investigations, a New York-based company and Cook County have announced a plan to raise money for victims of violence by melting the metals and turning them into bracelets, rings, and necklaces to be sold for $35 to $1,600.
“Chicago is a city that has suffered a lot over the past few years because of gun violence,” Peter Thum, an entrepreneur who runs Liberty United, said. “There’s an interesting opportunity to do something here.”
Up to 25 percent of the profits will reportedly go to Cook County non-profit groups, starting with Children’s Home + Aid, which provides services to families in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.
Last year, the company reportedly entered in to partnerships with Philadelphia; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Newburgh, N.Y. to collect guns and ammunition. Thum estimates that “tens of thousands” of dollars have been given to non-profit groups, but he couldn’t give an exact figure.
While jolting at first, the concept could go a long way to helping communities, like those on Chicago’s South Side that have been impacted by gun violence. Hopefully Thum will be able to provide concrete numbers about just how much money is awarded to programs already in place.