COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One year ago, Valentine’s Day was shattered by senseless violence. 17 people were killed and more than a dozen injured in the shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now, a Midlands group is backing proposed legislation here in the Palmetto State, which they say will keep our schools and communities safe.
A press conference is planned at the State House on Thursday morning.
The group, Building Better Communities, came together in 2010 as a way to fight back against gun violence. They also say it’s important to support legislation that will help keep our schools and communities out of harm’s way.
Representative Wendy Brawley of District 70 is sponsoring two bills this legislative session related to gun sales. One would add a 7% fee to all gun sales across the state in order to fund school resource officers. She has also proposed legislation to ban the possession of bump stocks or trigger cranks – known to speed up the rate in which a gun can fire off ammunition.
Representative Brawley tells WIS-TV the recent federal ban on bump stocks was an executive order that is now being challenged in the courts. She says having legislation on the state level will ensure enforcement.
Founder of Building Better Communities, Perry Bradley, will be at the State House on Thursday morning in support of this legislation. Roberta McKelvin, who lost her only son to gun violence, will also be in attendance.
“It affects everybody. People think it’s just about gangs and fights and everything, but at the same time it’s one of them things that happens too often,” Bradley said.
McKelvin says her 21-year-old son, “was shot and killed, November 15, 2013 in his community on Martha Street while he was sitting on the porch. He was loving, caring, smart, handsome, smiling. He had just got his CDL license that Friday. He was shot and killed and he was going to pick his truck up that Sunday. His bags were packed. Senseless gun violence came into our community. My heart is broken.”
She says her son is the reason she continues to advocate for gun safety.
“I am honoring and remembering my son, Nate McKelvin, who was shot and killed in the upper body four times. I want to honor him and remember him and also I have grandchildren and other people in the community. I want safe gun laws for them,” McKelvin said.
The conversation doesn’t have to be about taking guns, Bradley said. He just wants people to be responsible with the ones they have.
“We’re losing too many people and it’s not even a race issue. It’s more so of just losing communities to these guns and the safety that we’re concerned about is what we want everybody to be concerned about because it’s important that we keep our future alive,” Bradley said.
Members of Building Better Communities and other advocates of gun safety will meet at the State House, Thursday, at 10 a.m.