Gun owners destroying weapons post-Florida shooting indicates turning point in movement against mass violence

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people in Parkland, Fla. in a deadly school shooting on Feb. 14, according to CNN. This tragedy was not only heartbreaking, but incredibly unsettling, as Cruz clearly had mental health issues and displayed aggressive behaviors. 

Nevertheless, Cruz still had been granted access to weapons, according to CNN.

In response, like many tragedies before, social media has been instrumental in unifying Americans and supporting victims, while calling for change. “Thoughts and prayers” from those politicians are not enough; it has become evident that media movements can evoke actual results and transformation.

For example, some gun owners and previous advocates for limited gun control regulations are taking action to honor and memorialize those affected by the Florida shooting. “Some have used the hashtags #oneless or #onelessgun to illustrate their endeavors,” CNN reports. 

This movement started when a “heartfelt video of a gun owner who destroyed his AR-15 rifle with a circular saw” in order to prevent this weapon from causing another death, according to USA Today. This video circulated quickly and has upwards of 16 million views, USA Today reports.

The individual mentioned was Scott Pappalardo, and USA Today reported that “Pappalardo says he’s heard the arguments blaming video games, mental health problems and other issues for the mass shootings” and he decided to destroy his gun as opposed to selling it to ensure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Other individuals began to come forward and the trend grew increasingly popular in the days following the shooting. Ben Dickmann, who also participated in destroying his gun said, “I will be the change I want to see in this world. If our lawmakers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example #outofcirculation,” according to CNN.

This attitude is something that is rarely exhibited by gun-owners, especially in a public setting or by the media. The viral trend of individuals destroying their guns and holding themselves accountable for what happens with their weapons is refreshing and proves that Americans are taking a step in the right direction.

While the events that occurred in Florida are absolutely devastating and time should be taken to recognize the loss and hurt that occurred there, it is promising to see positive change come out of these tragedies.

The number of mass shootings that have occurred in 2018 alone are astonishing. Our government must hear our concerns regarding guns, and it is essential that individuals who own them continue to help advocate for stricter gun laws as well as take gun safety into their own hands.