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Emanuel AME Church, where a gunman killed nine worshippers last summer, will host an event on April 24 to support gun reform measures and offer prayer to people impacted by gun violence. FILE/STEPHEN B. MORTON/AP

Buses from across the state will shuttle at least 300 families hurt by gun violence to an upcoming event at Emanuel AME Church, where a racist gunman is accused of killing nine worshippers last summer. 

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the S.C. Commission for Minority Affairs are planning a prayer service, live discussion with CNN and premiere of a Katie Couric documentary about gun violence at the event scheduled for 3:30 p.m. April 24 at the historic church on Calhoun Street.

“We want to tell them that we love them and that Jesus loves them,” said Louis Smith, co-president of the state’s chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Organizers will hold a press conference to announce the event at 11 a.m. Wednesday in front of Emanuel AME Church along with several dozen families impacted by gun violence.

Nearly 33,000 people die nationwide from gun violence each year, roughly two-thirds of them in suicides and most of the others in homicides, according to the Brady Campaign.

“When asked to host the event, we said yes. We want to be available to the community,” said Emanuel AME’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark. “We want to have an open door.”

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Emanuel AME Church to Host Prayer Service, Live Discussion with CNN and Katie Couric Documentary Gun Violence on April 24th  was originally published on