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How S.C. activists are working to stop gun violence among young people

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:14 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Put Down the Guns Now Young People organization partnered with Miracle Deliverance Temple to hold a community awareness event.

“It’s one thing to have an organized meeting, but it’s another thing to go door to door,” said Jack Logan, founder of the organization. “We have boots on the ground every day.”

The group gathered on the corner of Prescott Road in Columbia and handed out gun awareness information to educate the public about gun safety. They also provided free gun locks for adults to secure their firearms so teenagers cannot access them.

Logan says his mission began in 2009 after two teens were charged with murder. He saw firsthand what the teens’ parents dealt with while going through trial and visiting their children in prison.

He then developed the “Put Down the Guns” cause to prevent other teens from picking up a gun.

“My goal is to prevent a mother and a father from going to a mortuary, then we don’t have to worry about another mother or father, going to prison for the rest of their life to visit their son or daughter,” said Logan.

Logan expanded his outreach to the Midlands because of the increase in gun violence in recent years.

As recently as 2019, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence reports that South Carolina had the fifth highest rate of firearm homicides in the country. Of the more than 1,000 gun deaths in the state that year, 95 were children and teens below the age of 20.

Church members took the opportunity to share their story and encourage young people to go to church.

“Look what God did for me. I did guns, drugs, and anything that can be done that y’all are doing. And look what God did for me and how he blessed me,” said one member. “We want to see y’all be able to get up and raise your family and be out there and be able to work and do the right thing, what needs to be done.”

Co-pastor of Miracle Deliverance says that the outreach is not to tear young people down, but to build them up to their full potential.

“We’re going to take them back from the streets and bring them in and let them do what they’re supposed to do as their purpose,” said Myra Bouknight.

The Put Down the Guns Now Young People organization partners with churches and community groups around the state to educate young people about the consequences of using guns. Logan says the mission now has national partners and hopes to put an end to gun violence.

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