Tri-County gun violence council asking gun owners to attend meeting

Source: Live 5
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:33 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 7:40 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council is calling on gun owners to attend phase three of their gun violence forum in hopes of seeing eye to eye on recent events in efforts to reduce gun violence.

There will be community leaders, organizations, advocates and victims of gun violence also in attendance sharing their stories.

According to data released in 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, South Carolina has the ninth-highest firearm homicide rate in the country.

Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council Chair Butch Kennedy says their goal is to change policies and start initiatives that can combat gun violence and for legislators to implement some of their suggestions.

He said gun violence forums related to the community create a space for legislators and community leaders to hear what the organization feels is necessary to make the community safer to reduce gun violence.

Previous phases of these forums had law enforcement and solicitors as well as mental health professionals and teachers speak on gun safety.

Kennedy said he hope this weekend’s forum involving gun owners will serve as a space where both sides can agree on how the community can reduce gun violence.

“I think that in order to address gun violence right you gotta address people that are vested into the weapons into the guns,” Kennedy said. “So I think their opinion is really important on how we can work together to combat gun violence within our community. And like I said it couldn’t be all voices matter and then silence of voice.”

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) said he also plans to attend Sunday’s meeting.

In the wake of the recent Nashville elementary school shooting, this will now be Gillard’s fifth effort to pass House Bill 3013 to ban assault weapons.

He said the community owes our teachers, children and society better than this.

“Are we to be silent?” Gilliard said. “Are we to go back as business as usual? No. I don’t think so. Ok? And yes I have filed an assault weapon bill to put a ban on assault weapons.”

Gilliard said the goal of the bill is to not take away guns from gun owners but make the owner more accountable for their weapons based on past incidents of gun negligence.

The meeting will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. at West Ashley High School.