Following the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the legality of automatic and semi-automatic weapons is being publicly debated. The shooter brought a semi-automatic rifle, legally purchased, into the school and killed 17 people. Some gun owners are now voluntarily destroying their weapons to publicly show their support to ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons, according to ABC News.
Scott Pappalardo of Scotchtown, New York, took to Facebook to explain why he was destroying his legally registered AR-15 rifle.
"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?" he said in a video on his Facebook page. Despite owning his rifle for more than 30 years, he destroyed his gun with a saw and used the hashtag #OneLess.
Another person who took to Facebook to destroy his weapon is Ben Dickmann, who lives near Parkland, Florida. He brought his AR-57, a variation of the AR-15, to Broward County authorities and asked them to destroy it.
"I enjoyed shooting this rifle immensely but I don't need it, I have other types I can shoot for the same enjoyment," he wrote on Facebook. The Broward County Sheriff's Facebook page showed an officer processing the paperwork to destroy the gun.
Amanda Meyer of New Haven, Connecticut, initially bought her handgun for self-defense. After the Florida school shooting, she has rethought her position on weapons.
"After what happened in Florida, I just thought, this is ridiculous, I'm attaching myself to this inanimate object that its sole purpose is to kill humans," Meyer told The Associated Press.
She took to Facebook to destroy her weapon, including slicing holes into the barrel. Meyer has a personal relationship with firearm tragedies. Her brother committed suicide with a gun, and a family member was in Las Vegas during the concert shooting. She lives near the school in Newton where a gunman opened fire on elementary school children.
"The solution, at least according to most of the cold-dead-hands crowd, is that we all just need to be kinder and more respectful and raise better children, those sorts of things," Meyer said. "Then the same people will come and say they wish someone would just break into my house and kill me so everybody would know I really did need that gun."
Others have taken to social media with the hashtag #OneLessGun to share their own stories.
"After the shooting in Florida, I don't feel like taking part in the toxic American gun culture anymore, so I destroyed my AR-47," tweeted one Twitter user.
"I'm with you. This was my Glock 19," shared another Twitter user with a photo of a drill and a dismantled gun.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has continued to publicly support semi-automatic rifles and denounce large-scale gun reform. NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch spoke to ABC News and defended that rifles only account for 3 percent of homicides.
"Three percent — only three percent of homicides in the United States actually are carried out with rifles. The highest number actually goes in with handguns. And these are illegally possessed by repeat offenders because these people keep getting slaps on their wrist," she explained.
That said, AR-15s are prevalent in recent mass shootings. Shootings at the Orlando nightclub, Las Vegas and a church in Texas all featured the weapons, reports USA Today.
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