In A Powerful Gesture, A Longtime Gun Owner Destroyed His AR-15 On Camera

“Here we are, 17 more lives lost, so when do we change?”

After the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine's Day, many are wondering what can be done to stop this far-too-frequent occurrence. A good number of people are looking to legislators to impose stricter gun laws to prevent these incidents from happening. One New York man is taking the matter into his own hands and doing his part to make sure that one less gun is on the streets. 

Scott Pappalardo of Middletown, N.Y., posted a now-viral video to his Facebook page on Feb. 17 that showed him destroying his AR-15 assault rifle in response to the rash of school shootings over the past few years. 

"I remember after Sandy Hook happened, I said to my wife I'd gladly give this gun up if it would save the life of just one child," Pappalardo said in the video. "That's five years ago now, and since then over 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings. So I guess my words were just empty words in the spur of the moment."

He continued, "Now, 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? And there's a lot of blame people can put on desensitizing with video games and the internet, bad parenting, mental illness, but ultimately it's a gun like this one that takes away the lives."

After saying his piece, Pappalardo took the gun with a saw, cutting the weapon into pieces before sitting in front of the camera once again. "People have always said there's so many of them out there. Now there's one less."

Pappalardo's actions have garnered the praise of a survivor of the Parkland tragedy, Cameron Kasky, who sent out his support with a retweet of an ABC News story about Pappalardo's video, writing, "And people call US heroes." 

Pappalardo isn't the only one giving up his gun in the wake of the shooting in Parkland. Florida gun owner Ben Dickmann handed over his AR-57 to the police in the wake of the incident, documenting the act in a viral Facebook post. "I am a responsible, highly trained gun owner," Dickmann wrote in the post. "However I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle."


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