Sunday 15 December 2019

WATCH: These gun owners are destroying their weapons after the Florida school shooting

Owners of assault weapons are saying #OneLessGun following the events at Parkland

Samuel Spence

In response to the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week, US gun owners have been posting videos online of them destroying their assault weapons.

Using the hashtags #OneLess and #OneLessGun, people shared videos showing them using saws and hammers to destroy their own AR-15 rifles, the same weapon used by Nikolas Cruz in Florida.

Scott Pappalardo of New York went viral with his Facebook video on February 19.

In the video, which has been viewed 26 million times, he is seen sitting on his back porch, discussing the reasons why he has decided to destroy his weapon.

He then cuts the barrel of his gun off with a circular saw.

The video has been shared on Twitter by famous figures like actress Julianne Moore.

Prior to Pappalardo’s video, Maryland resident Austin Steingrube live-streamed his destroying of his gun on YouTube.

He told the Press Association: "I’ve been a gun owner for a few years. I picked it up in college as a hobby.

"I began to realise that my ‘safe weekend toy’ was neither safe nor a toy. My gun was created for the sole purpose of harming people.

"What other hobby exists in which the focus is on an object of murder? Knitting? Golf? Playing guitar?"

Washington resident Debbie Lentz was inspired by Pappalardo’s example.

She said she saw his video and "realised that was something that I needed to do as well, to show my support for those kids who had the courage to do what we should have been doing for years!"

Lentz, whose father was a firearm safety instructor and whose husband has been a competition shooter, has owned guns for 25 years.

Pappalardo’s video and the events in Parkland made her realise that "the AR-15 is not a hunting gun; its purpose is to kill people rapidly and efficiently. I feel that it should not be available outside the military".

The trend has sparked debate on social media. Amanda Meyer, who shared a rifle-wrecking video on Facebook, said she has received a “harsh” backlash.

She said: "They are saying that I should have used it to shoot myself, that I should hang myself, that I deserve to be raped, that they hope that someone breaks into my house, that it will be hilarious when I get murdered, that I should put down the tools and go make my husband a sandwich because I’m too stupid to think, that I hate the Constitution."

She also claims she was doxxed when someone posted her address online.

In addition to disagreeing with the efficacy of destroying their guns, some have also questioned whether the people partaking in #OneLessGun could be breaking the law.

According to the National Firearms Act, a rifle with a barrel under 16 inches in length is an illegal firearm, and it is possible people may be accidentally committing felonies by cutting their AR-15s.

Instead, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms recommends getting a unwanted gun melted down, or handing it in to the police.

If gun owners do intend to cut their guns, they should use a blowtorch to warp at least a quarter-inch of the metal to prevent reassembly, and use a cutting torch rather than a saw to conform with the law.

PA Media

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