Several American gun owners have posted viral videos of themselves destroying their own weapons following a school shooting in Florida. The social media movement has been dubbed #OneLessGun (video below).
On Feb. 14, a gunman named Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and injured 12 others during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. 19-year-old Cruz used an AR-15-style semi automatic rifle to carry out the assault, according to USA Today.
On Feb. 16, Scott-Dani Pappalardo took to social media to declare support for stricter gun regulations. He noted that he had been a proud gun owner for decades and even bore a Second Amendment tattoo on his arm.
“I’ve had this tattoo for over 30 years and many years ago you could read that it says ‘the right to keep and bear arms,'” Pappalardo wrote on Facebook. “I still believe in this but also believe there needs to be much tougher gun laws. We are not taking away your rights but there is no way anyone can tell me things don’t need to change.”
The next day, Pappalardo destroyed his legally registered AR-15 in a viral video, stating “The barrel of this gun will never be pointed at someone.”
As of Feb. 22, Pappalardo’s video had garnered roughly 25 million views.
Several other gun owners filmed or photographed themselves breaking or disowning their firearms and posted their videos on social media under the hashtag “One Less Gun.”
Amanda Meyer of Connecticut filmed herself sawing her handgun in half. She had owned the firearm for five years.
“It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and when the shooting happened it took me over the edge,” Meyer told CNN. “Over time, the gun becomes part of your identity and it’s harder to get out of it than you think. It takes over your life. I was feeling uncomfortable for my morality and no longer wanted to participate in the gun culture.”
“As I see more and more AR-15s being part of mass shootings, I don’t want to be a part of that,” Mike Russell of North Carolina told NBC News, disclosing that he had given his rifle to the police.
Ben Dickmann of Florida similarly turned his AR-57 rifle over to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am a responsible, highly trained gun owner. … However I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle,” Dickmann wrote on social media.
Following the Parkland shooting, several advocates for stricter gun laws have called for a ban on AR-15 sales. National Rifle Association (NRA) Marcos Avalon asserted that the activism against the rifle was misguided.
“It’s a scapegoating,” Avalon said. “There will be another mass shooting right afterwards. So, I don’t see where the solution is coming from with that.”