Phoenix man cuts up AR-15s after Florida school shooting
PHOENIX — A Phoenix man said he and his family decided to destroy their AR-15 rifles after one was allegedly used in a Florida school shooting that left at least 17 dead.
“I don’t think my weapons would ever be used to kill people, but it’s the point, it’s that I’m willing, as a gun owner, to sacrifice being able to own something like that for the greater good of society,” Aaron LaRoque told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
LaRoque said he was inspired to talk to his family about what to do with some of their weapons after seeing a man do the same in a video that went viral over the weekend.
“I talked to my son and my wife about it because my son really likes them,” LaRoque said. “We love shooting them. He’s bought two of them with his own money.
“After I showed him the video and talked to him about it, he agreed. He said, ‘Let’s cut them up.'”
LaRoque said he had not previously given his ownership much thought despite the use of similar weapons in multiple mass shootings, but he began to question if it was worth it after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“When you really stop and think about it, is it worth me being able to take that gun and go to the range and shoot it? It’s a lot of fun to shoot. Is that worth it when we have all these people dying from AR-15 shootings?
“All these mass shooters seem to be using AR-15s and I just really started to think about that.”
LaRoque said he owns other weapons, such as hunting rifles and handguns, but he said he began to see a distinction between that and his AR-15s.
“They serve a purpose — home protection or hunting and we thought about it,” he said. “AR-15s seem to be meant for killing people and we don’t want a part of that.”
He also said he chose to cut them up rather than sell them or turn them over to police because the weapons could eventually fall into the wrong hands.
“To me, the whole point is to say, ‘I don’t agree with these anymore — people owning these assault weapons’ and that’s what they are: assault weapons,” he said.
LaRoque said the decision to chop up the weapons was a personal one that divided his friends. He didn’t ask for anyone to follow in his footsteps.
“Everyone’s going to make their own decisions on this and I made this choice,” he said.