The mass shooting by 19-year-old in Florida resulted in killing of 17 people. This rampage shocked the world and people expressed their outrage and condolences through various platforms. AR-15 rifle was used for barbaric act. Other owners in the U.S. have expressed their protests through destruction of their own rifles. A man in the upstate New York posted a video on Facebook in which he sawed his own AR-15 rifle. A woman in Connecticut performed the same action with her handgun. Another man in Florida handed over his rifle to police and asked them to destroy. Gun owners stated that they love to shoot with a rifle, and the time to destroy has arrived.
Scott Pappalardo is one of the owners of the AR-15 rifle. He owned it from past 30 years. He stated that the rifle is his favorite, but the recent tragedy saddened him deeply. He said in a Facebook video, “Here we are, 17 more lives lost. So when do we change? When do we make laws that say maybe a weapon like this isn’t acceptable in today’s society?”
Pappalardo opined that people blame bad parenting, video games, mental illness, and others for leading such incidents, but it is the gun that kills people. Then he turned around and saw his rifle. He posted the video with a caption “My drop in a very large bucket” along with hashtag #oneless. The video received a huge response with more than 375,000 likes and nearly 425,000 shares. He outlined that it was difficult and personal decision to destroy the gun.
Despite the rampage in Florida, the rifle has been the most popular weapon across the U.S. People destroying the gun represents a small fraction of gun owners. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are nearly 12 million AR-styled rifles across the country. Expressing protest through various ways is acceptable, but the question remains whether this will lead to stoppage of these incidents. Instead of just destroying rifles, it is important to find out reasons that lead people to take this step.
Chris Waltz, president and chief executive of AR15 Gun Owners of America, outlined that those people destroying guns have been blaming guns wrongly. He added that destroying rifles does not make sense. If someone owns a gun and knows he is not a psychotic, he would never take this step. A responsible citizen would behave responsibly. Waltz said, “It’s not a rifle problem. It’s a societal problem. We need to get a handle on what’s going on that’s causing these kids to do these things.”
Addressing issues that lead to psychotic behavior is the need of the hour. Blaming guns will not solve any problems. After all, they are nothing but weapons and can fire only when a human pulls the trigger. Determining reasons that make humans fire bullets from any guns will lead to avoiding incidents of mass shooting in the future.