Amanda Meyer grew up around guns. She took a hunter safety class in her hometown in Iowa when she was 14 and her parents emphasized proper gun handling from a very early age.
Now, as an adult living in New Haven, Connecticut, she has decided to saw into two pieces her 40-caliber Sig Sauer P229 handgun in the wake of the latest school shooting in Florida.
In a video posted on Facebook, Meyer says she doesn’t want her weapon to end up in the wrong hands.
“If I sell this gun, it may get to the hands of a normal person, a mass murderer or a suicide victim,” she says in the video. “And there’s no way that I can know where it ends up, especially if it changes hands a few times. The only way I can know for sure that this gun doesn’t hurt anyone is that it doesn’t exist.”
Meyer is one of several gun owners who have posted videos or pictures of themselves destroying their weapons or handing them over to police following the massacre last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. Some have used the hashtags #oneless or #onelessgun to illustrate their endeavors.
Law enforcement officials told CNN that the suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had obtained at least 10 firearms, all of them rifles. Authorities say he used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to shoot students and staff at the school he used to attend.
“It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and when the shooting happened it took me over the edge,” Meyer told CNN. “Over time, the gun becomes part of your identity and it’s harder to get out of it than you think. It takes over your life. I was feeling uncomfortable for my morality and no longer wanted to participate in the gun culture.”
“I’m not against (using a) shotgun for hunting, but I don’t think that people need semi-automatic weapons,” she adds.
Meyer got her gun five years ago for target shooting and self-defense purposes, though she now says she believes people are “more likely to get injured in self-defense situations, than not.”
“I got it for target shooting because I thought it was cool, just because I could. But that’s not a good reason anymore when children die. I was a teacher and I can’t imagine having to deal with that,” she adds.
More voices say #oneless
One of the first people to publicly take such a stance after the shooting was Ben Dickmann, a Florida resident who handed over his rifle, an AR-57, to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Tamarac.
“I am a responsible, highly trained gun owner. (I am NOT a Police Officer or Sheriff’s Deputy). However I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle,” he said in his Facebook post.
Dickmann explained that he could have easily sold the rifle, but he says nobody really needs it.
“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,” he concluded.
Another video, which went viral over the past few days, features gun enthusiast Scott-Dani Pappalardo cutting up his legally registered, AR-15 rifle — similar to the one used by the Florida shooter — which he has owned for more than 30 years.
“I’ve decided today, I’m going to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life,” he says in the video. “The barrel of this gun will never be pointed at someone.”
Pappalardo says he is a “firm believer” in the Second Amendment — he even has it tattooed on his arm — but wonders whether owning such a weapon is “more important than someone’s life.”
“I mean, look at the pictures of those victims. Is that right more important?” he asks. “I don’t think so, so I’m gonna make sure that will never happen with my weapon.”
His video inspired Jonah Manning, a medical and rescue technician from Leavenworth, Washington, to do the same.
On Monday, he posted on Facebook a photo of his Beretta .380 sawed in two.
“I’ve been a hunter and a gun owner since I was 7,8, or 9 years old. But I don’t use a handgun for hunting. So I’ve been uncertain of why I have it, what I should do with it for a long time,” he told CNN.
“Why now? Sure, I’ve been frustrated for a long time. Nothing has changed, unfortunately, since Columbine or Sandy Hook,” Manning continued.
“I was just happy to be inspired by a new idea: One less gun! A small thing — that is an action, something I could do.”