Gun sales and stockpiles may be booming worldwide, but in Colombia an unusual ceremony saw the destruction of 13,778 handguns, machine guns, rifles and mortars.
The weapons were melted down as part of International Gun Destruction Day, and will be used to make school chairs and a memorial for victims of gun violence there.
According to Inter Press Service, Colombia has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and 70 percent of those murders were committed with mostly illegal firearms in 2005.
Most of the guns destroyed were taken from gangsters and militias, officials said — while the rest were legally owned, and turned in voluntarily by their owners.
In addition to Colombia, International Gun Destruction Day was also observed by Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Albania.
While the Global Arms Trade Treaty was backed by a majority of U.N. member nations in 2006, it was opposed by the United States, and must also get past other members of the U.N. Security Council, such as China, Russia, Britain and France, which lead the world weapons trade.
“Disarmament: The Meltdown Begins”
Inter Press Service, July 19, 2007