SOUTHAMPTON, NY -- Andrew "Gumbo" Hurley said that after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in December, the fact he owned an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle sickened him.
In January, the 55-year-old who's been a gun owner since he was 14, decided to do something about it. In an interview Friday, Hurley said he called his friend from Barefoot Productions to come to his Water Mill workshop and film him smashing the AR-15 into pieces. The 3-minute video was then posted to YouTube Jan. 19 and has gleaned more than 2,000 views.
"Being a civilized man, I'm not too sure it has any relevance in my life," Hurley says to the camera in the beginning of the video, as he shows off the rifle. "I bought it, I don't know how many years ago, just because I thought it was cool. But now, after all of the events that have unfolded in our country, with shooting innocent children and women, I realize it ain't cool. It ain't even nice. Look at it; it's ugly. It has one purpose — but to kill people. It just disturbs me that I even own a gun like this."
He said Newtown and other recent mass shootings have taught him that "any nut" can get a gun. "No nut's gonna get this gun," he said before breaking out the sledgehammer.
Hurley told Patch that in the 10 or 12 years he owned the AR-15, it was only fired off 20 times. "Me and my friend each took 10 shots with it," he said.
Before the AR-15, he owned then sold an AK-47 he never used, he said. “I thought I was cool buying the thing.”
After posting the video to YouTube, he said, anonymous commenters called him an "idiot," a "moron," and a number of other names that can't be repeated in polite company. “They acted like I just destroyed a crucifix or swung a baby around into a wall,” Hurley said, adding, “I smashed it into a million pieces and I felt good about it. It was liberating to say the least."
He admitted that during filming, a piece of the gun flew off and hit him in the head. He said he stopped the bleeding, took off his sweatshirt, and resumed smashing the AR-15.
Hurley, a former hunter, said he still owns a shotgun for skeet shooting and two old guns, but he doesn't think people need AR-15s and AK-47s. "It's disturbing that people feel they need to be armed against the government," he said.
Hurley said he is an avowed liberal who enjoys talking politics, but he doesn't typically get politically involved beyond voting.
If the video does not play on your device, click here to watch it on YouTube.