SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) -Nearly three dozen people from three different advocacy groups clashed outside the gun shop, Palmetto State Armory, Saturday afternoon.
But instead of yelling at each other, they stood talking to each other, finding common ground on the side of the road.
Gun control advocate Bonnie Cleaveland had a notepad and pen in hand as she spoke with members of the South Carolina Lightfoot Militia.
“One of the things that I wanted to do is really talk to them and see if we could come to any agreement,” Cleaveland said. “Really hear their argument instead of having two groups yelling at each other.”
Bruce Bennett, the State Executive Officer for The South Carolina Lightfoot Militia, said the organization wanted to support the protesters’ rights to free speech, while also sharing their views on gun ownership.
“Everybody’s going to have a ‘side’ that they believe in the most,” Bennett said. “That doesn’t mean that it’s always right, doesn’t mean that it’s always wrong.”
The protest started with grassroots group, Indivisible Summerville. Organizer Leslie Bracken said she wanted to protest outside the gun store in response to recent mass shootings.
“It’s time to start tightening up some of the gun laws,” Bracken said. “Pulling off the street some of the extreme hardware that’s out there.”
Despite their different views, a resounding theme surrounded the protest, one of an open dialogue that they say is long overdue.
“I can’t just stand here and say my right matters if I’m going to sit here and say theirs doesn’t,” Pro-gun advocate Krystal Pecht said. “I want them to speak up. It creates us a dialogue, it creates discussion.”