Scott Pappalardo owns an AR-15 — well, he owned an AR-15 — now, he owns two halves of one.
The gun owner decided this week to video himself sawing his AR-15 rifle in half in response to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. What prompted him to destroy his weapon? The possibility that he could sell it someday, and it could end up in the wrong hands.
“In the back of my head, I say, 'Well, what if whoever buys this weapon, their child gets hold of it, and brings it to school one day, and shoots a bunch of people? Can I live with that,'” Pappalardo asked in his Facebook video. “And I don't think I could. So, I've decided today I'm going to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life. The barrel of this gun will never be pointed at someone.”
In his video, Pappalardo described himself as a defender of the Second Amendment, telling his viewers he’s even got a tattoo of it on his arm.
But despite his support for the right to bear arms, Pappalardo said he has recognized that too many have died because of the very weapon he owns.
“Now, here we are, 17 more lives lost,” he said, referring to the carnage of last week’s school shooting in Florida. “So, when do we change? When do we make laws that say maybe a weapon like this isn't acceptable in today's society?”
“Is the right to own this weapon more important than someone’s life,” Pappalardo asked shortly before sawing his gun.
After he sawed his gun, he looked into the camera and said, pointedly: “Now, there’s one less.”
While others have demonstrated their willingness to place the blame elsewhere, Pappalardo has accepted a conclusion millions of other Americans have already drawn: Assault weapons like the AR-15 have no place in our society.
The debate on what guns should be in the hands of Americans should be a vigorous one — there may well be a right to defend oneself, whether enshrined in the Constitution or just part of natural law. But that right is not absolute, and defining where the right extends (and where it ends) is paramount if we’re hopeful to save lives in the years ahead.