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Video of gun owner destroying AR-15 goes viral

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There’s a rally for change after the mass-shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students are speaking up and taking action.
USA TODAY

A heartfelt video of a gun owner who destroyed his AR-15 rifle with a circular saw “to make sure this weapon will never take a life” has gone viral, with more than 16 million views by Tuesday morning.

Scott Pappalardo posted his Facebook video entitled “My drop in a very large bucket,” with a hashtag #oneless on Saturday, three days after a teen gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

“I’ll be honest, it’s a lot of fun to shoot,” Pappalardo, who lives in New York state, says into a camera while sitting on a chair on a deck, the saw set up behind him.

Pappalardo said he has legally owned the gun for more than 30 years. He said he is not a hunter and never shot anything but targets. And he has a tattoo on his arm that pays homage to the second amendment.

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But after the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn., he determined that he would gladly give up his gun if it saved one child.

“That’s five years ago now,” he says solemnly into the camera before cutting the gun into three pieces. “Since then more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings. So I guess my words were just empty words in the spur of the moment. And now here we are, 17 more lives lost.

“So when do we change? When do we make laws that say maybe a weapon like this isn’t acceptable in today’s society?”

Pappalardo says he’s heard the arguments blaming video games, mental health problems and other issues for the mass shootings. He doesn’t buy it, saying “ultimately, it’s a gun like this one” that are used in the crimes.

He also rejected complaints from gun owners that tighter controls and bans just punish legal gun owners.

“I am going to give you a news flash,” he said “Until the other day Nikolas Cruz was a legal gun owner. Steven Paddock in Las Vegas, killing 58 people, was a legal gun owner until that night.”

He said he considered selling his gun to a gun shop or law enforcement officer, but he said he couldn’t live with himself if a child got access to the gun and brought it to school.

“I’m going to make sure that will never happen with my weapon,” he said. “People have always said there are so many of them out there. Well now there is one less.”

Not everyone agrees with Pappalardo.

Rep. Tyler Tannahill, R-Kan., on Feb. 13 announced plans to raffle a AR-15 to help finance his campaign. The shooting rampage in Parkland took place the next day. Tannahill says he won’t cancel the raffle. And he told the Kansas City Star that more gun laws wouldn’t have made a difference in Florida.

“We’re not trying to raise money off the school shooting,” Tannahill said. “We do want to find a solution.”

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