SC Lawmakers want a response after mass shootings

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Pushing the State and Federal mandates

SOUTH CAROLINA—The country was rocked by the devastating public shootings in Texas and Ohio, causing lawmakers across the country to take to social media platforms to voice their opinions on stricter gun laws. 

In South Carolina, several lawmakers made similar claims, pushing for tighter regulations at both the state and federal level. 

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South Carolina House Representative JA Moore was among those who voiced his concerns on Twitter sending out a tweet that reads, “No more thoughts and prayers. Gun violence has effected communities across the country this weekend, including mine, where one person was killed in a shooting on Friday at Northwoods Mall. It’s time for state legislatures across the country to act, because we know Congress won’t.”

Representative Moore lost his sister during the Charleston Church shooting in 2015, in which nine African-American churchgoers were killed during a Bible study session by white-supremacist Dylann Roof. Roof is currently on death row at the federal level and has been incarcerated since 2015.  

One bill that lawmakers are pushing to address in the upcoming legislative session is focused on extending the time period that law enforcement has to conduct background checks on individuals looking to purchase guns. The bill in question would give law enforcement officials five days to conduct background checks before allowing an individual to purchase a firearm; it is currently set at three days. 

Moore, along with several other SC representatives have also expressed their desire to have the state define what a hate crime is in their official law books. South Carolina is one of a few states that do not currently have any hate crime laws on record; SC lawmakers are looking to make those clarifications following these recent tragedies.

SC lawmakers can pre-file bills starting at the end of November, to be reviewed before the January legislative session. Two Democratic lawmakers, Representatives Wendy Brawley and Wendell Gilliard, wrote a joint letter to Governor Henry McMaster asking that a special session be called to bring SC lawmakers back to Columbia to address gun and hate crime legislation. 

Governor McMaster does not have the power to call a special session. That power lies with the two leaders of the State Senate and House who are both Republicans, it is unlikely that they will comply with the plea before the January legislative session.

Lindsey Graham, SC Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee, took to Facebook to announce that he was working with Senator Richard Blumenthal to create a “Red Flag” bill that would attempt to curb gun violence. 

The bill would create a federal grant program to assist and encourage states to adopt the “Red Flag” Protection Order laws that would focus on intervening in situations that present an imminent threat of violence. The focus of the bill is to remove weapons from individuals that have displayed a history of violence or mental instability before they have a chance to endanger others. 

By Samuel Robinson