In 2008, while visiting Africa to bring safe drinking water to the continent, Peter Thum was alarmed to meet young boys armed with assault rifles. This jarring experience led to his new mission: to reduce the number of illegal arms in combat zones. In 2009, Thum launched Fonderie 47, a company that transforms confiscated AK-47s, into ultra high-end jewelry and timepieces. Each piece sold funds destruction of many more weapons in African conflict zones. More than 40,000 rifles have been destroyed to date.
Based on that success, in 2013, he brought his vision to America and launched Liberty United. Working in partnership with various city governments and police departments, the company transforms the metal from illegal guns and bullets used in crimes into fine jewelry. Proceeds are funneled back to nonprofits working to end gun violence in some of the country’s toughest neighborhoods. Today, the results of Thum’s dream can be seen in community programs that support children in Philadelphia, Syracuse and Newburgh, New York, and Cook County, Illinois. Here, Life + Times goes behind the scenes of his unique venture to change a gun culture into one of hope and light for hundreds of at-risk kids.
To learn more, visit Liberty United here.