A former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, shot 17 people dead and injured 14 more on Valentine’s day in the deadliest U.S. school shooting since Sandy Hook. The accused 19-year-old was arrested after fleeing the scene.
The hooter used a legally purchased Smith and Wesson M&P15, a version of the AR-15. These guns can be legally bought in the US by anyone 18 and older.The Parkland shooter cleared an instant background check via the FBI criminal database.
One of the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, this week announced that they will stop selling all assault-style rifles in their stores. They also said that they will also no longer sell high-capacity magazines, and they won’t sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, despite the local laws.
The decision made by Dick’s Sporting Goods has been met with both support and objection. Worshipers at a Pennsylvania church took part in a bizarre display on Wednesday when they brought their unloaded AR-15s for a commitment ceremony into the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, displaying their Second Amendment rights.
The church leader, Rev. Sean Moon, believes that Jesus Christ used the “rod of iron” to rule the nations, and he thinks that the AR-15 symbolizes the iron club.
Moon’s prayers were: “a kingdom of peace police and peace militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by Almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing.” Classes at a nearby school were cancelled during the event.
Unification Sanctuary’s director of world missions, Tim Elder referred to the AR-15s as a “religious accoutrement”, and believes that the event was a blessing of couples, and not of “inanimate objects”.
Church leaders said that the event has been planned before the Florida shooting, in response to criticism.
Police and protesters were present at the event, and one protester asked a church member if they are aware that they are scaring people in the community.
Another one added:
“I don’t need a freaking assault weapon to defend myself. The only thing they’re good for is killing. Period. That’s all that weapon is good for, mass killing. And you want to bless it? Shame on you.”
Social media users had their opinions about the event themselves:
Saying this is bizarre is understatement!