A father forfeited his AR-15 rifle to the police after the Texas school shooting, explaining, "It's the only thing I can do."
Former Marine Ben Beers grew up shooting guns recreationally and learning about gun safety. Now, raising two daughters in Oregon, he's always kept his weapons, including a custom-built AR-15 gun, locked in a safe.
However, school shootings have made Beers reconsider gun ownership. "With AR-15s constantly in the news (it made me think), why do I have these in my home?" Beers told TODAY Parents. "I've never used them for self-defense and, to me, it's a token of pure evil and destruction."
After the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers, Beers resolved "from my gut and my heart" to hand over his AR-15, his 9mm handgun and his ammunition to the police.
“I no longer want them," Beers said in a TikTok video filmed outside the Hillsboro Police Department.
"I know this will not change legislation or anything to do with gun culture in America," he continued. "But hopefully, it will be a form of symbolism and hopefully America can wake up because no other country has the problems that we do ... with gun violence."
Sergeant Stewart Kelsey of the Hillsboro Police Department told TODAY Parents that Beers used a long-established service that accepts weapons or ammunition from citizens.
Once submitted to the property-and-evidence division, he said, "Weapons are sent to a local company that melts them into slag using a blast furnace." Gun owners are provided a receipt and sent on their way.
"I'm tired of hearing that a military-grade AR-15 is comparable to a hunting rifle — it's not," said Beers. "I don't have money or power but if I can do one thing, it's get rid of this ... I want a safer future."