A California gun rights supporter has reacted to the mass shootings around the country in a way some gun enthusiasts may find surprising — by destroying his own AR-15 rifle with a sledgehammer.
Chad Vachter, a gun owner from Bermuda Dunes, California, explained his reasoning for smashing the AR to local news outlet KMIR, saying he started questioning why he owned the firearm after the 2015 San Bernadino terror attack at the Inland Regional Center, a facility where his son received treatment for autism.
“So when my son is old enough to realize that someone went in there and shot up that place, and he sees that gun in my possession and asks me, ‘Why do you have that, Daddy?’ I don’t have a good answer,” Vachter said.
He was then convinced he needed to destroy the AR-15 after Tuesday’s shooting spree in Northern California left five dead and 10 injured. The shooter opened fire at a Tehama County elementary school but was unable to get inside the building due to a lock down, which authorities say prevented him from taking even more lives.
“I can’t do it. I can’t have something in my house that so easily could become another part of a situation like that, and I’m not going to be desensitized to it. I refuse it,” Vachter said.
While he still claimed to be an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, Vachter said he felt relieved after destroying the gun and thought it was the right thing to do. He still plans to keep his shotgun and pistol but challenged other gun owners to destroy any “assault weapons” they may own and use the hashtag #NotWithThisGun.
“It makes me feel like I’ve been a small man to think that I needed one of these,” Vachter said. “The other night, when I read the thing about the school in Northern California, I cried and I haven’t felt good since, and although I’m still sad for all the people and all the victims affected, I feel like I’ve done the only thing that I can do in this equation.”