Joining a national wave of frustration in the wake of last week's mass school shooting in south Florida, parents and students from the Charleston area will rally for a legislative response to gun violence at 5:30 p.m. today in downtown Charleston's Marion Square.
The event is dubbed the #NoMoreExcuses Rally for Change on Facebook, and it has about 90 RSVPs so far. Participants include parents, high school students and the South Carolina chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Parents and students will be calling for universal background checks for gun sales and "an end to military-style assault weapons being in civilian hands," according to Merrill Chapman, a Mount Pleasant resident and president of the Brady Campaign's South Carolina chapter.
Locally, Chapman said they will focus their efforts on banning "bump stocks" in Charleston. The accessory can be added on to a semi-automatic rifle, using the recoil to make the gun function like a fully automatic rifle.
Frances McLeod, a local foster parent who helped organize the rally, said the plans came together over the weekend. She said one of her foster children had classmates from James Island Charter High over at their house making posters.
McLeod said the activists are interested in affecting policy at the local level, even if they can't make headway at the state or national level yet.
"If we can get it done in Charleston, hallelujah," McLeod said.
Meghan Trezies, a parent and leader with the local advocacy group Arm-in-Arm, said members of her group plan to travel to Columbia on Tuesday morning to testify before the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.
She said students have also begun expressing an interest in the nationwide March 14 student walkout organized by survivors of last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Starting at 10 a.m. that day, students around the country will walk out of class for 17 minutes — one minute for every life lost in the shooting.
"We can’t prevent every shooting, but we’re not doing the simplest things to prevent all the shootings that we possibly can," Trezies said.