A crowd of concerned Dallas residents gathered in front of the Providence Towers Executive Suites on Spring Valley Road on Wednesday to pray and demand changes in U.S. gun laws.

Pastor Stacy D. Brown of the APEX Everywhere Church said the rally’s goal was to have different communities of faith show their concern over what appears to be a “rising trend of gun violence” in schools.

“Our precious children are dying because of nonsense legislation that does more to protect the rich and those that are in power at these lobbyist organizations and gun companies,” she said.

Along with several other rally attendees, Brown shouted Sen. John Cornyn’s office number out for people to call and demanded changes in national gun laws.

As the rally continued, several pastors from different denominations said prayers and spoke about their increasing concern over students’ safety in the classroom.

Claudine Marion, a member of Grandmothers Against Violence, said she and her group organized after the Parkland Shooting in 2018.

“We did the March for Our Lives soon after that incident,” she said. “We were able to connect to the students and tell them we had their backs.”

Whether or not gun violence in schools has increased, students need protection from any and all such future incidents, said Texas State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington). He believes strong standard operating procedures to guide emergency responses will better prepare schools for the worst than increased regulation on firearms.

Tinderholt said in a text interview that passing laws that truly secure schools would require being more proactive than state law currently requires, adding Texas educational institutions have safety and security audits every three years.

“These must be validated for effectiveness and be realistic for the specific school location,” he said. “They should not wait for the three-year timeframe to make changes. Accountability for these safety and security audits must be accomplished through legal and/or financial ramifications if not met.”

In an earlier interview on the subject with The Dallas Express, Tinderholt said with a strong standard operating procedure to guide a response to an emergency, he believes schools will be better prepared for the worst.

“There are simple things school districts can do, but they cost money,” said Tinderholt. “Some standard operating procedures could include barriers for the front of the doors and intercom systems outside the building with video cameras that follow into the office to allow visibility.”

“[Schools] can fortify windows and doors with certain types of locks and glass protection. There are also amazing technological advances in camera systems that talk to security within the school. Also, implementing an automated system that will notify the whole school to an emergency as well as 911,” said Tinderholt.

The Dallas Express reached out to Senator John Cornyn’s office for comment but did not receive one by press time.