Jonathan Pring posted photos to Facebook of himself surrendering his guns to a police officer in his home. Pring, who is a dual British-American citizen, told the news station he called the police non-emergency number to ask to give them his weapons after seeing that a shooter killed at least 58 people and injured at least 500 others in Las Vegas.
“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,” he said. “So, one immediate thing that I could do was hand over my guns. I’m one less civilian that has guns.”
“When I phoned dispatch and I said, ‘hi, I’ve got some guns I’d like to get rid of,’ the dispatcher panicked a little bit,” Pring told KSAZ. “‘You’ve got guns? How many guns? Are there people in the house with you now? Are the guns loaded?'”
Pring explained that he could have pawned the guns for several thousand dollars but instead hoped to do something to encourage others to surrender their guns.
“I will miss my guns,” Pring wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Pring encouraged others to give up their guns because “the easiest way to stop mass shootings from happening in America is to take guns away from civilians.”
“We can do something about the guns, we can just get rid of them — it’s that easy,” he added.
Many on Facebook shared the photos in support, but angry gun owners lashed out.
“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.”
Though many of the comments were positive, the responses grew increasingly negative and he was forced to take down the post as more comments flooded in.
Pring fled his home with his wife and son “for a few days” after receiving numerous violent threats.
Users continued to share screenshots of the deleted post and some even included his home address in the posts.
“HES UNARMED AND WANTS YOU TO SHOW HIS WIFE A GOOD TIME WHILE HE WATCHES!!!!” a Facebook user wrote.
“If I have a break-in at my house, I’ll hit him with a baseball bat,” Pring said in response to criticism that he won’t be able to protect his family. “I’m not afraid. I don’t need a gun to be a man.”
Others claimed Pring had just bought the guns with the sole purpose of giving them up. Some suggested he go to Chicago where they assumed he would encounter gun violence.
“I tried to be diplomatic in what I wrote,” Pring said. “I didn’t want to alienate people and I didn’t want to make this about me.”