Scott-Dani Pappalardo purchased his AR-15 rifle over 30 years ago.
An avid target shooter and longtime supporter of gun ownership rights, he even has the Second Amendment tattooed on his arm.
But after 17 people lost their lives in a Florida high school, gunned down by an AR-15 rifle allegedly wielded by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, Pappalardo decided he’d had enough.
On Saturday, the New York gun enthusiast took an extreme measure to ensure that no one could ever use his weapon to take a life — he sawed it apart on camera.
But first, Pappalardo explained his reasons in a Facebook video.
Mental illness, violent video games and bad parenting can certainly contribute to one’s risk of committing a lethal crime, he explained, but, “Ultimately, it’s a gun like this one that takes away the lives.”
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He also delivered a riposte to gun ownership advocates who say that legal gun owners shouldn’t be penalized for the acts of criminals.
“I’m going to give you a newsflash. Until the other day, Nikolas Cruz was a legal gun owner,” Pappalardo said. “Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas, killing 58 people, was a legal gun owner until that night.”
He added that gun rights need to be balanced with the rights of children to not become victims of school shootings.
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“Think about it, is the right to own this weapon worth more than someone’s life? A weapon like this, that can cause so much death and destruction? Is that right more important? I don’t think so,” he said.
“So I’m going to make sure that will never happen with my weapon.”
Explanations given, Pappalardo then walked over to his sawing machine, and used it to saw his rifle into pieces.
Job done, he then offered one final message to anyone who might be critical of his decision.
“I hope and I pray that it doesn’t take the barrel of one of those guns pointed at your child’s head to change your mind.”