Gun safety advocacy organizations zero in on SC legislation, education
Members of Everytown Survivor Network, Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivors united for an evening to honor those impacted and to educate the public on more common-sense legislation.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Gun violence and the remedies to solve it. Data from Gun Violence Archive finds there’s been a 25% increase in gun related deaths since 2019 nationwide. And on Friday, members of Everytown Survivor Network, Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivors united for an evening to honor those impacted and to educate the public on more common-sense legislation.
Verdell Evans was just seven when he learned a bullet can have irreparable damage.
“I lost my mother in defense of her family against an abusive husband by using his gun against him,” Evans said.
He says his mother used it in self-defense. His stepfather was killed, and his mom was sentenced to life in prison.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” he said.
A life altering course heard again, and again.
In 2019, Toni Miller-Fuller was shot nine times during a robbery while running errands.
“They interrupted my whole life,” Miller-Fuller said. “I’m not working anymore right now, and I have PTSD, so I’m always watching my surroundings and looking back all the time. I shouldn’t have to live like this.”
A similar plea from Cindy Bogan whose son was the victim of a life-changing road rage shooting.
“I want changes,” Bogan said. “My son is a quadriplegic. He’s paralyzed from the armpits down, he only has use of one arm, and he has a very severe nerve injury. Whereas most people who are paralyzed don’t have pain, my son is in pain 24/7.”
Profound stories of survival and recovery that led them to first join advocacy group’s calling for stricter gun laws and this Fallen Angels Ceremony.
“They’re not just statistics – they’re human beings,” said Darlene Ham, South Carolina state survivor membership lead.
Ham is the organizer of the ceremony. She says if you thought these organizations were visible before, they’ll be more visible now.
Groups like Moms Demand Action are also not just holding monthly meetings, there’s advocates for the court system, and peer to peer support.
“It’s a family that no one really asked to belong to,” Ham said.
In 2023, advocacy groups are also more focused on gun law education, like South Carolina’s Constitutional Carry Bill which passed the House last month and has been referred to the Senate judiciary committee. The bill would allow lawful firearm owners to carry handguns openly or concealed without a state permit.
“You need a license to run a store – you need a license for just about everything in your day-to-day activity,” Ham said.
“A gun is not the problem, it’s the people — the wrong people with the guns,” Miller-Fuller said.
A growing network, that’s healing through education, and diversified power.
“This is something that needs a great deal of attention, from men and women,” Evans said.
In addition to allowing permitless carry, South Carolina’s Constitutional Carry Bill would bar people convicted of most felonies from firearm possession and align state penalties with federal law.
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