LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A video of a man cutting his semi-automatic weapon in half has gone viral following last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, prompting a social media movement decrying easy access to high-powered assault rifles.
Scott Pappalardo of New York state is the star of a clip posted on Facebook that had been shared more than 360,000 times as of Tuesday afternoon. It shows him taking a power saw to the barrel of an AR-15 assault rifle, saying he wanted to make sure it would never be used in a massacre like the one in Florida that killed 17 students and faculty last week.
“This isn’t the answer to solve all the problems. Quite frankly there is no one answer. There will always be people that will want to kill and will do it one way or another,” Pappalardo says in the video. “But they are not going to do it with this gun. And I’m hoping that maybe someone will see it and say: ‘Maybe I’ll do the same thing.’”
Pappalardo, a gun rights supporter who says he has the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution tattooed on his arm, closes the clip by pointing out that destroying the gun meant there would be one less lethal weapon in America.
Since Pappalardo made his post on Saturday afternoon, the hashtag #oneless has mushroomed on Twitter and Facebook as other gun owners have posted pictures or video of their firearms being destroyed.
Among them was Christian Cammas, a 35-year-old Orange County, California, man who posted a photo of his destroyed AR-15 rifle on Twitter along with the caption: “No one needs a 50-round clip military death-weapon #Oneless.”Cammas told Reuters in an interview that he bought the gun for $750 about two years ago as a hunting weapon and home protection, but ultimately realized that “having the freedom to own a gun like that is not as important as the safety of citizens.”
Cammas said he had mixed feelings while disassembling and ruining parts of the weapon, saying it had been fun to use while boar hunting and range shooting.
“At the same time, (destroying the gun) contributes to the culture, I think,” he said.
Amanda Meyer of Connecticut videotaped herself using an angle grinder power tool to cut holes in her handgun, saying that while she grew up around guns and knew how to use them safely, she no longer found it worthwhile to own one.
“I’m probably not the first person to do this and I probably won’t be the last. But this is literally the only I way I can think of to just have fewer guns in the world,” Meyer says in the clip.
The movement has won praise from many gun-control advocates who see it as a rare concession from gun owners. Others have scorned the videos as an empty gesture, sometimes countering with an ironic #onemore hashtag that suggests they would be buying another firearm instead.
(This version of the story has been corrected in paragraph 8 to show Cammas disassembled his weapon and ruined parts of it instead of “cutting up”)
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney