After a school shooting in his state killed 17 people, a Florida man decided to voluntarily hand his semi-automatic rifle over to police, because he says he doesn't need it.
Ben Dickmann, a resident of Tarmac, Florida, turned in his AR-57, a variant of the AR-15, to the Broward Sheriff's Office on Friday –– in the same county where a gunman killed teachers and children at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. In a Facebook post, he wrote that, even though he's a "responsible, highly trained gun owner," he doesn't see a need for the average person to own the powerful firearm.
"I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle," he wrote on Friday. "This rifle is not a 'tool' I have use for. A tool, by definition makes a job/work easier. Any 'job' I can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm."
He continued, "I could have easily sold this rifle, but no person needs this."
His post, which garnered hundreds of thousands of likes within one day and over 100,000 shares, was a follow-up to a promise he made on Thursday, when he wrote on Facebook, "I can now say I know people who have been directly affected by three of the most horrific gun violence events in our history (NIU, Las Vegas, Stoneman-Douglas), and a couple more single events. This makes me sick. This makes me mad. I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing about thoughts and prayers."
Dickmann's post touches on a frustration that more Americans feel after each and every mass shooting. While politicians offer "thoughts and prayers," some constituents demand tangible actions that will help to prevent additional tragedies. And some, like Dickmann, are taking matters into their own hands.
As Dickmann wrote on Friday, "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."
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