TAMARAC, Fla. - A Florida gun owner struggling with another mass shooting that has taken place in the United States after the deadly shooting attack at a South Florida high school is hoping to make a difference and lead by example by surrendering his rifle to law enforcement.
In a Facebook post that was liked more than 186,000 times and shared over 82,000 times as of Friday night, Ben Dickmann says he has turned in his AR-57, a caliber variant of the AR-15, along with 100 rounds of ammunition to the Broward County Sheriff's Office on Friday. He even posted photos of the weapon being taken in by a deputy and a receipt showing a note that Dickmann requested for the disposal or destruction of the weapon.
"I am a responsible, highly trained gun owner," Dickmann wrote on Facebook. "However I do not need this rifle. No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle. This rifle is not a 'tool' I have use for."
Dickmann made the decision following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed and 14 others were injured.
"I enjoyed shooting this rifle immensely but I don't need it. I have other types I can shoot for the same enjoyment," according to Dickmann. "I have surrendered this rifle to The Broward Sheriff at the Tamarac Post. I could have easily sold this rifle, but no person needs this. 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."
Despite calling himself a "member of probably the second-most vilified demographic in the country currently (If you didn't know, I'm a conservative leaning, gun-owning, middle-aged, financially stable white male)" in an earlier Facebook post on Thursday, Dickmann called on lawmakers to come up with more comprehensive gun control and training requirements for gun owners.
"We need to start, we need to act," he wrote. "We need to be the generation that says enough is enough and we are going to start the wheels to stop this. I am going to be part of that generation. I am probably going to lose 'friends' over this, but, I don't care anymore. I know this is not going to stop overnight, but, if we don't start to actually DO SOMETHING it will NEVER STOP.
"It's Time. It's Been Time. It's PAST Time."