One Tamarac man says he’s decided to “be the change I want to see in this world.”
In a Facebook post that has been shared more than 57,000 times, Ben Dickmann revealed pictures of him keeping a promise he made the day before — surrendering his AR-57 in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.
“I enjoyed shooting this rifle immensely but I don’t need it. I have other types I can shoot for the same enjoyment,” Dickmann wrote. “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.”
Dickmann’s decision to give up his gun came two days after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into his former school on Wednesday afternoon, opening fire with an AR-15 rifle.
Seventeen people died and another 15 were wounded in the worst school shooting in Florida history.
“I am 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),” he said. “Within this demographic I’m probably in the minority, but maybe more like me will stand up, because I’m sorry, until my demographic gets behind this, nothing will change.”
In one of the photos, Dickmann showcases a deputy filling out a property receipt at the sheriff’s office. On the top left corner of the document, the weapon, along with two 50-round magazines, was classified as abandoned.
“My demographic is the majority of gun-owners, the majority of lawmakers (being bought by the gun lobby) and the ones that always stand behind the 2nd Amendment as an omnipotent shield,” he added.
But the comments on his Facebook post aren’t all in support of his views.
"People don't need to get rid of their guns, they need to get rid of their bad attitudes and behaviors," commented Tom Sester.
Said another user, Mike Rickman: "When the next mass murderer runs down a bunch of folks with his car you should surrender that too."
In one of his posts, the man calls for stricter gun laws that include mental health screenings, firearm training and routine re-certification requisites.
“It’s time. It’s been time. It’s past time,” he wrote. “I don’t want my friends to worry about sending their kids to school, or worry about my wife doing any one of her countless high school visits as part of her job. I don’t want my pastor friends to worry about the congregations during worship. I don’t want my concert-touring family to worry at their events. None of these places/people should need to worry about being the site of mass violence by firearms.”