Kensington resident leads Beating Guns movement turning trauma into tools

Talk about a remarkable transformation. From something that can be a tool of death and destruction to a tool of new life and beauty.

Turning guns into gardening tools for goodness sake.

Shane Claiborne is an author and activist. Beyond that, Shane is also a resident of Kensington so his perspective is shaped in part by that.

“Five days ago we had a young guy who was killed 3 blocks from here, so there kind of becomes a point where we say enough, let’s do something,” Shane tells Bill Anderson. “Thoughts and prayers are great but we need some actions, too.”

Shane’s firsthand experiences have inspired his Beating Guns movement.

Quite literally, Shane works to beat guns into something he feels is far more productive.

 “My friends are blacksmiths so they kind of taught me, im not naturally a blacksmith but I learned it so I could do this work,” he explained. “So now we take those guns and repurpose the metal and turn them into garden tools.”

While Claiborne recognizes that the act of banging a donated gun into a tool will not solve the ever-growing violence in Philadelphia, he knows that the experience can be cathartic.

“Repurposing the gun allowed people to shed some of their pain,” he added.

The Beating Guns movement has toured around the country and through their journey, they’ve found that the two sides of the gun debate can find common ground through discussions following demonstrations

“We’ve had tons of gun owners come and they’re like just because I’m a gun owner doesn’t mean that I think assault weapons should be on the streets of Philly,” Shane noted.

Shane hopes to continue these demonstrations and discussions pretty much any place that will have him. 

He wants to have the discussions and show that even the seemingly toughest things or people can change for goodness sake.