CHARLOTTE — Students, teachers, and parents from across the Charlotte region came together to take a stand against gun violence on Sunday afternoon in the “March for Our Lives” rally.
Many of the people who participated in the march either work in schools or are students who want to see changes in gun laws before the next school year. Cheyenne Hoy, a Rock Hill teacher who attended the march, said she simply doesn’t understand the violence.
“Like, why? I don’t understand why,” Hoy said.
The issue is very personal for her.
“I do think my school is safe, but you say that until something happens,” said Hoy.
Organizer Catherine Tiddy said the march was also a chance to pay tribute to those lives lost to gun violence with direct action.
“Honor those lost by demanding tangible change, not thoughts and prayers,” Tiddy said.
Tiddy is just one of the students who led the march. Fusion Academy sophomore Prentiss Cooper was another leader.
“I’ve had friends have panic attacks at school during lockdowns because we didn’t know if there was going to be a shooting,” Cooper said.
As the march was taking place, a group of senators announced a bipartisan proposal to tackle gun violence.
The proposal has a provision to encourage states to come up with their own red flag laws, which would temporarily prevent people who pose a danger to others or themselves from having a firearm in their posession.
“For me, it’s a small step. I think more needs to definitely happen and be done, but it’s encouraging,” said marcher Hannah Crawford.
Crawford marched alongside her friend, Nicole Williams, who is still skeptical of the proposal.
“Will the Senate even look at it? Are they going to fillibuster it? Are they going to do anything to even have a vote?” Williams asked.
While many remain skeptical, many people believe the deal has the votes to pass.
Weekend marches planned to protest gun violence in Charlotte, Salisbury
Students in the Carolinas are taking their message on gun violence to the streets this weekend.
Hundreds of March for Our Lives rallies are planned for Saturday and Sunday, including gatherings in Charlotte and Salisbury.
The marches started after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018. The rallies have gained new urgency in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead in Texas.
Increased safety in schools is one of the goals this weekend, along with bringing more attention to the issue of gun violence.
Organizers told Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura that they’re fed up with shootings at their schools and in their communities.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the event happening in Charlotte at First Ward Park on Sunday at 11 a.m.
A similar march in 2019, after a shooting at UNC-Charlotte left two people dead, drew a large crowd. Three years later, and protesters’ demands are nearly identical.
“Same story, different year,” said Catherine Tiddy, outreach coordinator for March for Our Lives in Charlotte.
The national March for Our Lives organization is pushing congress to require universal background checks on guns, pass red flag laws that allow guns to be confiscated in certain cases, and raise the age limit to buy some types of guns.
The Charlotte event is organized by Lora Henley, a rising senior at Myers Park High School. Alissa Redmond, the organizer of Salisbury’s rally says they are gathering in hope of spurring action from lawmakers.
“This is not a partisan issue, this is not something that should be politized in any way,” Redmond said. “We are just hoping that our children can safely attend school without fear of things like this happening as they have been happening for decades, because of the current legislation on the books.”
Charlotte’s event has local leaders set to attend, including Congresswoman Alma Adams and state Sen. Jeff Jackson.
Similar to the national March for Our Lives group, Jackson is pushing for universal background checks. He also wants to ban high-capacity magazines, a measure he says is getting stonewalled in the state Senate.
Jackson told Channel 9 even if we don’t see changes on the national level, there are laws that can be enacted in the Carolinas that could help prevent mass tragedies.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that we don’t meet this ongoing tragedy with repeated inaction: there are things that have overwhelming support across the country, clear support from even gun owners (including) red flag laws,” Jackson said.
In a statement last month following the school shooting in Texas, Republican Sen. Tom Tillis said red flag laws could be an overreach.
“So the question is, can we can we actually get to policy that could make a difference, but not deny people their Second Amendment rights and give them due process?” Tillis’ statement read.
The conversation will likely continue for weeks and months to come, and will be amplified by the local marches this weekend.
(WATCH BELOW: Gov. Cooper declares June 3 ‘Gun Violence Awareness Day’)
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