Saturday morning in Uptown Charlotte will be a display of opposites.
On one end, of the convention center specifically, the National Rifle Association and its gun-toting crew will be shooting off about saving their right to bear arms. And a few feet away at St. Peters Catholic Church, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence will be hosting a forum with community leaders about getting guns off the streets of Charlotte. (The forum titled "Valuing Communities: Working Together to End Gun Violence" begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m.) But NCGVs executive director, Roxane Kolar, said this meeting is not a protest to the NRA Convention.
This event [will serve] as a reminder of the need to protect our communities from the wave of violence sweeping through the country, she said.
According to the groups website, NCGV advocates approaches that address both prevention (focusing on the underlying causes of gun violence) and punishment (dealing with the perpetrators of gun violence in the criminal justice system).
Kolar said the group is not anti-gun and they work with responsible gun owners every day. And the forum in Charlotte, according to Kolar, isnt just a one-day event but a springboard to help curb gun violence in the community.
It comes on the heels of a University City third grader shooting a gun in class on Wednesday. According to WSOC-TV, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are still investigating how the student got the gun. One of the things that we learn everyday is that responsible gun owners know more than non-gun owners, and they know that a gun is a dangerous weapon, she said. So, the gun owners we work with every day support the gun laws.
Kolar said the community forum will give people who live in Charlotte a chance to talk about the issues with gun violence in the community and created a plan to stop it. Much of what is expected to be on Saturdays agenda will deal with young people and guns.
The event will feature, local residents discussing their experience with violence including survivors and victims families. Additionally, local and national advocates will speak on grassroots organizing which has worked in their communities.
To sign up for the forum, log on to www.ncgv.org/saferCLT.