FAIRHOPE – Nearly 100 people gathered here Saturday with a single mission: to let the community know that there is indeed a part of the population who wants assault weapons banned and smarter gun laws put in place.
“I know a lot of us feel powerless but we can ban together and let our Deep South senators know that there are a lot of people out there who feel this way,” said Donna Orchard, organizer of the Baldwin County chapter of the national Moms Demand Action group.
The organization took part in a series of nationwide rallies held over the weekend, dubbed Recess Rallies. While U.S. Senators are home for recess the local groups are holding rallies to demand politicians pass laws that require background checks on all gun sales and strengthen Red Flag laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others.
Members of Saturday’s crowd carried handmade signs that demanded a ban of military weapons, called for more than thoughts and prayers and simply said, “enough.”
“I have had children tell me that when they start school and arrive in their new classroom the first thing they do is decide where they are going to hide,” Orchard told the crowd. “When I was in school it was a safe place. Is this the world we want to live in?”
Orchard told the crowd her own family’s story of surviving gun violence.
After a weekend family reunion, Orchard said she arrived home only to learn that after leaving the festivities her alcoholic father had shot his girlfriend. The couple kept a loaded gun by the door after thieves stole a lawnmower from their property. He picked up the gun in the heat of an argument and killed her.
Orchard said she was horrified, embarrassed and unable to full process the pain her father had caused the woman’s five sons.
“I don’t want our children to have these stories about gun violence that can be avoided,” she said.