In light of the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, many concerned citizens have been springing into action and demanding stricter gun safety laws. In contrast, members of the Trump administration have made it clear that gun safety measures are not a priority of theirs. That being said, an unlikely movement has sprung up in the aftermath of the shooting that tragically left 17 dead. The viral movement, called #OneLess, or #OneLessGun, involves gun owners sharing videos of themselves destroying their weapons.
Scott Pappalardo, an American, posted his gun-destroying video to Facebook on Saturday, where it went super viral, according to the Evening Standard. Pappalardo captioned his 5-minute video, "My drop in a very large bucket. #oneless." When the video begins, Pappalardo is holding an AR-15 assault rifle — the same weapon that the gunman used to open fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week. "A lot of people have said to me, 'Well what do you need to own a weapon like that for? It's only purpose is to kill,'" Pappalardo says to the camera in the video. "I've never killed anything with it, except a bunch of targets."
"And I remember, after Sandy Hook happened, I said to my wife, I would gladly give this gun up if it would save the life of just one child. And that was five years ago now," he continues. "And since then, over 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 ponders what he should do with his AR-15. He says he could sell it, and make between $600 and $800 — but the thought of that gun getting into the wrong hands and being used for something deadly is too scary. So, he makes the only decision that is guaranteed to prevent that gun from ending someone's life. "I have decided today, I am going to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life," he says.
He then stands up, puts on a pair of silencing headphones, and slices the rifle in half. "People have always said, there's so many of them out there," he says, sitting down with his broken gun. "And now, there's one less ... And I'm hoping maybe someone will see [this], and say, 'Maybe I'll do the same thing.'"
Pappalardo's Facebook video quickly went viral — in just three days, it has garnered more than 19 million views and 366,000 shares. The hashtag he used, #oneless, quickly started to go viral, as well. Many other gun owners tweeted photos of their destroyed guns in support of gun violence prevention.
The day before Pappalardo shared his video, Connecticut resident Amanda Meyer posted one with a similar message. "I'm probably not the first person to do this, hopefully not the last," she says in the video. "The only way that I can know for sure that this gun doesn't hurt anyone is if it doesn't exist. So, that's why today, I'm going to make sure there's one less gun in this world." The video shows footage of Meyer destroying the gun with an angle grinder in her garage. She used the hashtag #onelessgun in her caption.
Pappalardo, Meyer, and the other people who destroyed their guns prove that the ability to make a change when it comes to gun violence prevention does not only lie in the hands of lawmakers. Everyone has the ability to make a difference, and every privately-owned assault rifle that's no longer on this earth is definitely a good thing when it comes to preventing gun violence.