CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representative Wendell Gilliard says the issue of gun violence has become too big of a problem. He is pre-filing a bill in November that would make it illegal to buy or own assault weapons in South Carolina.

“I stand before you still willing to address the most significant and deadly problem in today’s society, and that is guns,” says Rep. Gilliard.

Community members and activists from across the Lowcountry came together at a press conference pushing for legislation to ban assault weapons as the nation and state continue to see a rise in gun violence.

“When sending our children to school, our parents to church, and when we go to the grocery store we should know we can walk around in our and feel safe,” says Danielle Richardson, the Lowcountry director of Brady United Against Gun Violence.

Gilliard says since 2009 more than 1,040 people across the country have been shot and killed by an assault weapon. He says these weapons are made for the military and brought out fake assault weapons to symbolize how dangerous they are.

“We will not be able to eradicate the entire gun problem, but we can certainly put laws in place to slow down the intentions of evil people,” says Rep. Gilliard.

With recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas Highland Park, Illinois, and South Carolina, Gilliard says the change is urgent in order to save lives.

“This is for all the slaughtered babies, children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents. Will you stand with me today and stand with us today when we introduce the ban on assault weapons when we pre-file our bill in November,” he says.

Gilliard says since 2009 there have been 279 mass shootings in the United States and at least 7 in South Carolina, most of them involving an assault weapon.