Calls for gun control across the country have been powerful and resounding over the past week. But those coming from people who were on the opposite side of the debate have struck a particular chord.
One such call comes ferom Scott Pappalardo, a gun owner from Middletown, NY, who decided to destroy his weapon in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, FL on Valentine’s Day.
“This is my pre-ban, legally registered AR-15, which I purchased over 30 years ago,” Pappalardo said in a video he posted on his personal Facebook page. “I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, and I even have it tattooed on my arm.”
By way of explanation for why he owns one of these assault rifles, he said: “I’ll be honest: It’s a lot of fun to shoot… I’ve never killed anything with it except a bunch of targets.”
But after the Newtown shooting in 2012, Pappalardo said he began to have a crisis of conscience.
“I said to my wife: I’d gladly give this gun up if it would save the life of just one child.”
“Now, here we are, 17 more lives lost,” he continued. “So, when do we change? When do we make laws that say maybe a weapon like this isn’t acceptable in today’s society?”
“I mean, think about it: is the right to own this weapon more important than someone’s life? A weapon like this that can cause so much death and destruction?”
Pappalardo began addressing counterarguments to his stance: First, he tackled the idea that people who are going to commit a crime will find a way and so legal gun owners shouldn’t be punished.
“I’m gonna give you a newsflash,” Pappalardo said. “Until the other day, Nikolas Cruz was a legal gun owner.”
He also touched on the issue of mental health, which has become a touchstone for a Republican argument which tiptoes around gun control, and which has been used by many, including the president.
“Quite frankly, anyone, any legal gun owner, is capable of snapping and committing a horrific crime, even without mental illness,” he said.
“So now, what do I do with this? How do I get rid of it?” he asked rhetorically. “I could sell it, I could probably get 600 to 800 dollars for it… [but] what if whoever buys this weapon, their child gets hold of it, and brings it to a school one day, and shoots a bunch of people, can I live with that? And I don’t think I could.”
“So, I’ve decided today I’m gonna make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life,” he concluded. “The barrel of this gun will never be pointed at someone.”
He sawed off the muzzle of the gun and sat back down.
“Now people have always said, ‘there’s so many [guns] out there.’ Well, now, there’s one less.”
[insert Stannis Baratheon meme here.]
“For all you haters out there that think I’m very stupid for doing this, I hope and I pray that it doesn’t take the barrel of one of these guns pointed at your child’s head to change your mind.”
Watch the full video above, via Facebook.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Rachel Dicker on Twitter @rachelmdicker
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