'I will be the change': Man's post on turning in assault rifle after Parkland shooting goes viral

Ben Dickmann, a conservative white man in Florida who owns guns, is sick of simply offering thoughts and prayers after every American mass shooting. In a very lengthy Facebook post yesterday, Dickmann shared he knows more needs to be done—especially by gun-owning, conservative white men like him (emphasis mine):

I am standing up and saying to anyone that will listen…We need better, more comprehensive gun control, ownership, and training requirements in this county. We need to start this now. We needed to start this 20-30 years ago in all reality.

Dickman shares that he personally knows people affected by three different mass shootings—the recent Parkland attacks, last year’s Las Vegas tragedy, and the Northern Illinois University shooting from 2008—and we need change to prevent more of these events from happening.

He writes a long proposal of what must be done for American safety: banning assault weapons that are popular among mass shooters, implementing training requirements, and thorough mental health screenings. He knows that it’s a lot of hoops for gun owners to jump through, but he believes that’s okay; it’s worth it.

Is any of this going to be cheap and or easy? Nope. But, if you want to continue to maintain your “right” to keep and bear arms, why would you not be willing to prove your ability to maintain that right? I am. I know I would pass. Any responsible gun-owner should be able to. There are so many other types of guns out there that you can still own and use, we don’t need the military style rifles in the public market.

In a new post the following morning, Dickmann shared that he wanted to do more than just talk the talk. He wanted to walk the walk as a self-proclaimed “responsible, highly trained gun owner” and so he surrendered his AR-57 assault rifle at the Broward Sheriffs Office in Tamarac, Florida. He could have sold the weapon to recoup some of the money he spent purchasing it, but he didn’t want it out in the world. 

 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 law makers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example.

As of this writing, the post has over 49,000 reactions and over 25,000 shares. There are also over 8.6k comments—many of which are from conservatives mocking and denouncing him for daring to say to take a stand against gun violence. Here’s the post below: