PHOENIX, AZ -- When Jonathan Pring posted images on Facebook showing the moment he went from being a current gun owner to a former gun owner, he knew he’d get some response.
What he didn’t expect was for the post to go viral.
"I didn't wake up yesterday planning to become the local Phoenix poster child for the American gun debate,” Pring said.
The pictures show Pring willingly handing over his firearms, which included a machine gun and a pistol, to a uniformed Phoenix police officer in the living room of his Phoenix home.
Pring, who’s a dual citizen of the U.S. and Great Britain, said he called the department’s non-emergency number asking to hand over his guns to them after watching the horror unfold in Las Vegas this week.
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Pring says the mass shooting made him think about what was important in life.
That was his wife and son, his loved ones.
"I would hate for that to happen to my family and it suddenly made me think how ridiculous this whole gun debate is in America,” Pring said.
“So, one immediate thing that I could do was hand over my guns,” he said. “I'm one less civilian that has guns.”
The Facebook post was shared hundreds then thousands of times.
“The first thousand people that commented on it were supporters: ‘I'm so proud of you.' 'What a great thing you've done,'” Pring said. “And then it got really quite scary.”
He said the comments picked up in pace and became overwhelmingly negative, including some death threats.
"As a result we've left Phoenix for a few days,” Pring said.
The backlash also led Pring to take down the post all together.
"I tried to be diplomatic in what I wrote,” he said. “I didn't want to alienate people and I didn’t want to make this about me.”
While he's disappointed how things turned out, Pring said he still doesn't regret giving up his guns.
“We just had a mass shooting, horrible, the worst ever and there are practical solutions that we can do immediately,” he said.
He felt this was a small way he could be the change instead of just talking about it. But he isn't asking others to follow suit.
“I'm not expecting every gun owner to just give up their guns," he said.
Here is the text of Pring's post since-deleted post, along with photos from the post:
Hello. My name is Jonathan Pring. I am a proud United States Citizen.
Until this morning I was a gun owner.
In lieu of the recent mass shooting event in Las Vegas, this morning I phoned my local police station (Phoenix, Arizona) and asked for an officer to visit my house and collect my firearms.
People on social media and in the news are asking questions and looking for answers. I have an answer. If civilians do not have guns then mass shooting events will occur less frequently.
That clever old Indian Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
Small steps really can make a difference and we can all do small steps, even babies.
I will miss my guns. I enjoyed taking them to the range and doing Rambo poses in front of the mirror. I paid a lot of money for them. However, if I was to write down the 10 most important things in my life the guns wouldn’t make the list.
I hope my actions inspire others. If we can achieve a safer world for our children, we will have done a good thing.
Be the change.
To any would be home invaders, watch out. I just bought a brand new Slugger.