Charleston-based coalition plans new initiative to reduce gun violence

The June shooting at Emanuel AME Church led to the formation of a grassroots coalition called Gun Sense SC, which will announce a new initiative to keep guns out of the wrong hands Monday.

A Charleston-based grassroots coalition formed after the Emanuel AME Church shooting will announce a new initiative to keep guns out of the wrong hands Monday.

Gun Sense SC has been gaining momentum with each new shooting around the country, according to founder Meghan Alexander. The group plans an announcement Monday morning in the room where nine people were killed in June. Those scheduled to speak include Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Mayor elect John Tecklenberg, Police Chief Greg Mullen, the Rev. Joe Darby and Dr. Robert Ball, an infectious disease specialist who considers gun violence a public health risk.

Organizers declined to be more specific in advance about the initiative that will be announced Monday.

The group states its mission on its website.

“Galvanized by the Emanuel AME tragedy, we are an independent, grassroots group of South Carolinians working hard to close the gaps in laws that make it too easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands — while supporting the Second Amendment right of citizens to lawfully own guns.”

The group points out that background checks are required for sales through gun shops but not at through the Internet or classified ads.

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Ball, along with Dr. Richard Hagerty, last month wrote an opinion piece for The Post and Courier calling gun violence a public health issue.

Besides the need to improve background checks for gun sales, they also called for removing legal barriers that prevent health professionals from reporting people they believe should not have guns. Hagerty and Ball were writing as members of the Executive Committee of the Charleston County Medical Society.

Ball was also on a panel at the conference on gun violence held Friday at Emanuel AME Church.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.